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Arndt S.,Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Zentrum For Polar Und Meeresforschungbremerhaven Germany | Dierking W.,Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Zentrum For Polar Und Meeresforschungbremerhaven Germany | Nicolaus M.,Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Zentrum For Polar Und Meeresforschungbremerhaven Germany
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2016

An improved understanding of the temporal variability and the spatial distribution of snowmelt on Antarctic sea ice is crucial to better quantify atmosphere-ice-ocean interactions, in particular sea-ice mass and energy budgets. It is therefore important to understand the mechanisms that drive snowmelt, both at different times of the year and in different regions around Antarctica. In this study, we combine diurnal brightness temperature differences (dTB(37 GHz)) and ratios (TB(19 GHz)/TB(37 GHz)) to detect and classify snowmelt processes. We distinguish temporary snowmelt from continuous snowmelt to characterize dominant melt patterns for different Antarctic sea-ice regions from 1988/1989 to 2014/2015. Our results indicate four characteristic melt types. On average, 38.9±6.0% of all detected melt events are diurnal freeze-thaw cycles in the surface snow layer, characteristic of temporary melt (Type A). Less than 2% reveal immediate continuous snowmelt throughout the snowpack, i.e., strong melt over a period of several days (Type B). In 11.7±4.0%, Type A and B take place consecutively (Type C), and for 47.8±6.8% no surface melt is observed at all (Type D). Continuous snowmelt is primarily observed in the outflow of the Weddell Gyre and in the northern Ross Sea, usually 17 days after the onset of temporary melt. Comparisons with Snow Buoy data suggest that also the onset of continuous snowmelt does not translate into changes in snow depth for a longer period but might rather affect the internal stratigraphy and density structure of the snowpack. Considering the entire data set, the timing of snowmelt processes does not show significant temporal trends. © 2016. American Geophysical Union.


Hoppmann M.,Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Zentrum For Polar Und Meeresforschungbremerhaven Germany | Nicolaus M.,Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Zentrum For Polar Und Meeresforschungbremerhaven Germany | Hunkeler P.A.,Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Zentrum For Polar Und Meeresforschungbremerhaven Germany | Heil P.,Australian Antarctic Division | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans | Year: 2015

Ice shelves strongly interact with coastal Antarctic sea ice and the associated ecosystem by creating conditions favorable to the formation of a sub-ice platelet layer. The close investigation of this phenomenon and its seasonal evolution remains a challenge due to logistical constraints and a lack of suitable methodology. In this study, we characterize the seasonal cycle of Antarctic fast ice adjacent to the Ekström Ice Shelf in the eastern Weddell Sea. We used a thermistor chain with the additional ability to record the temperature response induced by cyclic heating of resistors embedded in the chain. Vertical sea-ice temperature and heating profiles obtained daily between November 2012 and February 2014 were analyzed to determine sea-ice and snow evolution, and to calculate the basal energy budget. The residual heat flux translated into an ice-volume fraction in the platelet layer of 0.18±0.09, which we reproduced by a independent model simulation and agrees with earlier results. Manual drillings revealed an average annual platelet-layer thickness increase of at least 4 m, and an annual maximum thickness of 10 m beneath second-year sea ice. The oceanic contribution dominated the total sea-ice production during the study, effectively accounting for up to 70% of second-year sea-ice growth. In summer, an oceanic heat flux of 21 W m-2 led to a partial thinning of the platelet layer. Our results further show that the active heating method, in contrast to the acoustic sounding approach, is well suited to derive the fast-ice mass balance in regions influenced by ocean/ice-shelf interaction, as it allows subdiurnal monitoring of the platelet-layer thickness. © 2015. The Authors.

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