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New publication on the physical role and function of Antarctic Sea Ice


We have just published a new Information Summary on the physical role and function of Antarctic Sea Ice.

Click here to access the Information Summary.

This summary is the first article in a series on Antarctic Sea Ice. Antarctic Sea Ice #2 and Antarctic Sea Ice #3 has also been published on the Portal.

Each year around Antarctica, sea ice transforms a vast area of the surface of the Southern Ocean, covering up to 19-20 million km2 at its maximum extent in September (~4% of Earth’s surface) before diminishing to 2-4 million kmin February. This remarkable annual cycle has an immense influence on the Southern Ocean environment and beyond. The sea ice also accumulates snowfall, which substantially influences its physical and optical properties, its growth and decay, and its interactions with other parts of the ice-ocean-atmosphere system.

Improved knowledge of Antarctic sea ice characteristics and ice-ocean-atmosphere-biosphere processes, interactions, and feedbacks is required to develop and improve Earth System models. Such knowledge is crucial to reducing current uncertainties in those models and to improve confidence in projections of the Antarctic sea-ice system over the coming decades and beyond (see Antarctic Sea Ice #3), including its impacts and coupled feedbacks. Improved sea-ice forecasting capability is also required to support safe and efficient shipping and logistical activities around the Antarctic continent.

Antarctic Sea Ice #1: Physical Role and Function” was written by Kyle Clem, Rob Massom, Sharon Stammerjohn and Phillip Reid.