Friday, 11 March 2011

Sea ice breakup in McMurdo Sound, 2011

Our group installed an ice tethered profiler in the sea ice by Scott Base, close to where we spent much of the winter of 2009 working on the sea ice. If we'd been down there now, we'd have quite wet feet as the sea ice which had been in place since about 1998 has finally succumbed to a well-timed storm and has broken out. This is bad news for our ITP, as it has drifted to a position where the ocean depth is too shallow for the length of cable, so the poor unit is spending a lot of time acting as an anchor in the mud. Hopefully it will clear the coast and start working again...

Here are a series of satellite images taken around the time of the breakout, with the path of the ITP superimposed on them.

2011-02-20 (a big storm makes lots of waves, you can see the road from McMurdo to Pegasus as a white line near the profiler, with a tongue of water crossing it...)

2011-02-22 (the ice edge moves towards the profiler)

2011-02-23 (moved, stuck by the ice shelf)


2011-02-25 (escapes from the ice shelf edge)

2011-03-03 (a few days later)

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