1Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
2Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
3Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland
4Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
5Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
6Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
7Aarhus University, Department of Environmental Science, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
Abstract. Ikaite is a hydrous calcium carbonate mineral (CaCO3 · 6H2O). It is only found in a metastable state, and decomposes rapidly once removed from near-freezing water. Recently, ikaite crystals have been found in sea ice and it has been suggested that their precipitation may play an important role in air-sea CO2 exchange in ice-covered seas. Little is known, however, of the spatial and temporal dynamics of ikaite in sea ice. Here we present evidence for highly dynamic ikaite precipitation and dissolution in sea ice grown at an out-door pool of the Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF). During the experiment, ikaite precipitated in sea ice with temperatures below −3 °C, creating three distinct zones of ikaite concentrations: (1) a mm to cm thin surface layer containing frost flowers and brine skim with bulk concentrations of > 2000 μmol kg−1, (2) an internal layer with concentrations of 200–400 μmol kg−1 and (3) a~bottom layer with concentrations of < 100 μmol kg−1. Snowfall events caused the sea ice to warm, dissolving ikaite crystals under acidic conditions. Manual removal of the snow cover allowed the sea ice to cool and brine salinities to increase, resulting in rapid ikaite precipitation. The modeled (FREZCHEM) ikaite concentrations were in the same order of magnitude as observations and suggest that ikaite concentration in sea ice increase with decreasing temperatures. Thus, varying snow conditions may play a key role in ikaite precipitation and dissolution in sea ice. This will have implications for CO2 exchange with the atmosphere and ocean.