During the spring/summer transition, sea ice and snow properties change considerably in response to warming and the eventual reversal of temperature gradients within the snow and ice. Snow melt water percolates down towards the colder snow/ice interface, where it refreezes to form superimposed ice. On sea ice this process occurs probably longer and more intensive than on land, because throughout the summer the ice and underlying seawater is always colder than the snow. In Antarctica superimposed ice may actually form layers of some decimeters in thickness. The objective of this study is to investigate the main processes and boundary conditions for superimposed ice formation, in recognition of its importance for Antarctic sea ice, and its possible importance for Arctic sea ice in case of environmental changes due to future climate change. This will be performed by means of modeling as well as by combined measurements of the temporal evolution of snow and ice properties and the energy budget.
Department of Climatology, University of Trier, Faculty of Geography, Geosciences Trier, Germany Norsk Polarinstitutt, Norway