My name is Renee Petrella. I am a freshman at Liverpool High School in Mr. Penston's Earth Science class. I would like to know whether your team has found any patterns in the ice. In addition, what are the patterns that you are looking for. Thank you in advance for your time and I hope your expedition has been successful.

Anne Marie Wotkyns

Renee,
Hi and thanks for your question. What we can visually see from our ice observations are ice patterns (or textures) that are related to the age of the ice. Typically we classify ice by both age and thickness. As the ice gets older it thickens by both freezing more sea water at the base of the ice, and also by accumulation of snow at the top. Unlike the Arctic where most sea ice can survive for many years (doesn't melt entirely in the summer), Antarctic sea ice almost entirely disappears during the summer melt season. Ice that only lasts for one year is called First Year Ice, and for multiple years, Multi-year ice. Relating the age of the ice to the thickness is crucial to understanding how climate change is affecting the sea ice or the opposite - how the changes in sea ice are affecting climate. We're discovering the the presence of sea ice has a potential huge effect on climate. When we lose sea ice to a warming atmosphere or ocean, more sunlight reaches the ocean (rather than getting reflected back out to space by the white snow and ice) which warms the ocean even more, which melts even more sea ice. This is called a positive feedback loop. Clearly this is not good for climate change. If you google sea ice you can look at many good pics of ice types. My favorite is called pancake ice!
Thanks Renee,
Blake Weisslinbg

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