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Ion fractionation in young sea ice from Kongsfjorden, Svalbard

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The fractionation of major sea-water ions, or deviation in their relative concentrations from Standard Mean Ocean Water ratios, has been frequently observed in sea ice. It is generally thought to be associated with precipitation of solid salts at certain eutectic temperatures. The variability found in bulk sea-ice samples indicates that the fractionation of ions depends on the often unknown thermal history of sea ice, which affects the structure of pore networks and fate of solid salts within them. Here we investigate the distribution of ions in Arctic sea ice that is a few weeks old with a reconstructible thermal history. We separate the centrifugable (interconnected) and entrapped (likely disconnected) contributions to the ice salinity and determine their ion fractionation signatures. The results indicate that differential diffusion of ions, rather than eutectic precipitation of cryohydrates, has led to significant ion fractionation. The finding emphasizes the role of coupled diffusive–convective salt transport through complex pore networks in shaping the biogeochemistry of sea ice.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

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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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