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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-155
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-155
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Brief communication 01 Aug 2018

Brief communication | 01 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Brief communication: Pancake ice floe size distribution during the winter expansion of the Antarctic marginal ice zone

Alberto Alberello1,a, Miguel Onorato2,3, Luke Bennetts4, Marcello Vichi5,6, Clare Eayrs7, Keith MacHutchon8, and Alessandro Toffoli1 Alberto Alberello et al.
  • 1Department of Infrastructure Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
  • 2Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Torino, Torino, 10125, Italy
  • 3INFN, Sezione di Torino, Torino, 10125, Italy
  • 4School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
  • 5Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Rondenbosch, 7701, South Africa
  • 6Marine Research Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondenbosch, 7701, South Africa
  • 7Center for Global Sea Level Change, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 8Department of Civil Engineering, University of Cape Town, Rondenbosch, 7701, South Africa
  • anow at: School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia

Abstract. The size distribution of pancake ice floes is calculated from images acquired during a voyage to the Antarctic marginal ice zone in the winter expansion season. Results show that 50% of the sea ice area is made up by floes with diameters 2.3–4m. The floe size distribution shows two distinct slopes on either side of the 2.3–4m range. It is conjectured that growth of pancakes from frazil forms the distribution of small floes (D<2.3m), and welding of pancakes forms the distribution of large floes (D>4m).

Alberto Alberello et al.
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Alberto Alberello et al.
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Short summary
Existing observations do not provide quantitative descriptions of the floe size distribution for pancake ice floes. This is important during the Antarctic winter sea ice expansion, when hundreds of kilometres of ice cover around the Antarctic continent is composed of pancake floes (D = 0.3–3 m). Here, a new set of images from the Antarctic marginal ice zone are used to measure the shape of individual pancakes and to infer their size distribution.
Existing observations do not provide quantitative descriptions of the floe size distribution for...
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