Snow contrasts controlling the fate of sea ice




Dr. Stefanie Arndt 
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Fachbereich Klimawissenschaften
Sektion Meereisphysik


Project Description

Snow on sea ice alters the properties of the underlying ice cover as well as associated exchange processes at the interfaces between atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean. The Antarctic snow cover persists during most of the year and contributes significantly to the sea-ice mass budget due to comprehensive physical (transition) processes within the snowpack. It is therefore the overall aim of the proposed project SnowCast to locate and quantify internal snowmelt, snow metamorphism, and snow-ice formation in the Antarctic snowpack on different spatial scales. Doing so, results will improve our understanding on processes and interactions in the snowpack as well as at the snow/ice interface associated with seasonal and inter-annual variations in the sea-ice mass budget of the Southern Ocean. In order to achieve this aim, in-situ observations of the Antarctic snow cover will be combined with a 1-D snow model (SNTHERM) to describe the temporal evolution of small-scale processes in the snowpack. Available remote sensing data will be utilized to quantify the mentioned variables on larger scales. Furthermore, the gained knowledge on the temporal evolution of internal snow structures and associated changes in the sea- and freshwater contents within the Antarctic snowpack can be used to increase the accuracy of various sea-ice data products based on satellite remote sensing.In order to bridge the gap between Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, the last part of the project is designed to carry out a comparative study of the seasonal snow stratigraphy on both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, in order to identify and quantify similarities and differences between both hemispheres. Applying the 1-D snow model in both polar regions will show how the different prevalent atmospheric and geographic conditions impact the characteristic differences of the Arctic and Antarctic snowpack.


DFG Programme: Infrastructure Priority Programmes

International Connection: Australia

Cooperation partners: Professor Dr. Christian Haas; Dr. Petra Heil; Dr. Robert Massom; Dr. Marcel Nicolaus

Term since 2018