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Snow on Antarctic sea ice

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 13:03 authored by Robert MassomRobert Massom, Eicken, H, Haas, C, Jeffries, MO, Drinkwater, MR, Sturm, M, Worby, AP, Wu, X, Lytle, VI, Ushio, S, Morris, K, Phillip ReidPhillip Reid, Warren, SG, Ian AllisonIan Allison
Snow on Antarctic sea ice plays a complex and highly variable role in air-sea-ice interaction processes and the Earth's climate system. Using data collected mostly during the past 10 years, this paper reviews the following topics: snow thickness and snow type and their geographical and seasonal variations; snow grain size, density, and salinity; frequency of occurrence of slush; thermal conductivity, snow surface temperature, and temperature gradients within snow; and the effect of snow thickness on albedo. Major findings include large regional and seasonal differencies in snow properties and thicknesses; the consequences of thicker snow and thinner ice in the Antarctic relative to the Arctic (e.g., the importance of flooding and snow-ice formation); the potential impact of increasing snowfall resulting from global climate change; lower observed values of snow thermal conductivity than those typically used in models; periodic large-scale melt in winter; and the contrast in summer melt processes between the Arctic and the Antarctic. Both climate modeling and remote sensing would benefit by taking account of the differences between the two polar regions.


Publication title

Review of Geophysics








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


American Geophysical Union

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other environmental management not elsewhere classified

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