Cross-borehole resistivity tomography of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice

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As an inhomogeneous mixture of pure ice, brine, air and solid salts the physical properties of sea ice depend on its highly temperature-dependent microstructure. Understanding the microstructure and the way it responds to variations in temperature and salinity is crucial in developing an improved understanding of the interaction between sea ice and the environment. However, measurements monitoring the internal structure of sea ice are difficult to obtain without disturbing its natural state. We have recently developed an application of cross-borehole d.c. resistivity tomography to make in situ measurements that resolve the anisotropic resistivity structure of first-year sea ice. We present results from measurements made in 2008 off Barrow, Alaska, and in 2009 off Ross Island, Antarctica. The sea ice in these two regions forms in different environments: at Barrow, relatively quiescent conditions typically lead to a predominance of columnar ice, while more turbulent conditions and underwater ice formation in McMurdo Sound tend to produce a larger component of frazil or platelet ice. Interpretation of the resistivity measurements carried out in association with temperature and salinity data collected simultaneously allows both observation of the temporal evolution of the ice structure and, in the case of the Antarctic measurements, the identification of different ice types.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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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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