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Ice ridging and ice drift in southern Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, during winter storms

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During February and March 2004, satellite-tracked ice beacons and helicopter-borne sensors collected ice-drift and ice-thickness data from the southern Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, to study the region's ice-thickness evolution and ice-drift behavior in response to winter storms. Three northeasterly storms passed through the area during the observation period, pushing the pack ice against the north shore of Prince Edward Island. The resulting severe ice deformation caused major changes in the ice-thickness distribution of two pack-ice areas tracked by ice beacons that survived the storms. The ice drift ranged from 1.4% to 2.9% of the wind speed during free ice-drift conditions, decreasing to 0% when the pack ice compacted against the shoreline. Most of the thinner ice deformed first, increasing the mean ice thickness over 6–8 km line sections around the beacons from 0.6 and 0.3 m before the storms to 1.9 and 2.0 m after the storms. The ice-thickness increases can be accounted for by the reduced pack-ice area due to ice ridging. Over the next 4 weeks, deformation continued and the mean ice thickness around the beacons increased to 2.8 m, well in excess of the maximum undeformed possible ice growth of 65 cm. Ice charts captured the ice thickness of undeformed and composite ice floes but did not capture the ice volume in ice-rubble fields.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-11-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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