Comparing methods of measuring sea-ice density in the East Antarctic Public Deposited

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  • Remotely sensed derivation of sea-ice thickness requires sea·ice density. Sea-ice density was estimated with three techniques during the second Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem eXperiment (SIPEX-II, September-November 2012, East Antarctica). The sea ice was first-year highly deformed, mean thickness 1.2 m with layers, consistent with rafting, and 6-7/10 columnar ice and 3/10 granular ice. Ice density was found to be lower than values (900-920 kg m⁻³ used previously to derive ice thickness, with columnar ice mean density of 870 kg m⁻³. At two different ice stations the mean density of the ice was 870 and 800 kg m⁻³, the lower density reflecting a high percentage of porous granular ice at the second station. Error estimates for mass/volume and liquid/solid water methods are presented. With 0.1 m long, 0.1 m core samples, the error on individual density estimates is 28 kg m⁻³. Errors are larger for smaller machined blocks. Errors increase to 46 kg m⁻³ if the liquid/solid volume method is used. The mass/volume method has a low bias due to brine drainage of at least 5%. Bulk densities estimated from ice and snow measurements along 100 m transects were high, and likely unrealistic as the assumption of isostatic balance is not suitable over these length scales in deformed ice.
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  • Hutchings, J. K., Heil, P., Lecomte, O., Stevens, R., Steer, A., & Lieser, J. L. (2015). Comparing methods of measuring sea-ice density in the East Antarctic. Annals of Glaciology, 56(69), 77-82. doi:10.3189/2015AoG69A814
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