Brief communication: Pancake ice floe size distribution during the winter expansion of the Antarctic marginal ice zone

Alberello, Alberto; Onorato, Miguel; Bennetts, Luke; Vichi, Marcello; Eayrs, Clare; MacHutchon, Keith; Toffoli, Alessandro

The size distribution of pancake ice floes is calculated from images acquired during a voyage to the Antarctic marginal ice zone in the winter expansion season. Results show that 50 % of the sea ice area is made up of floes with diameters of 2.3–4 m. The floe size distribution shows two distinct slopes on either side of the 2.3–4 m range, neither of which conforms to a power law. Following a relevant recent study, it is conjectured that the growth of pancakes from frazil forms the distribution of small floes (inline-formulaD<2.3 m), and welding of pancakes forms the distribution of large floes (inline-formulaD>4 m).

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Alberello, Alberto / Onorato, Miguel / Bennetts, Luke / et al: Brief communication: Pancake ice floe size distribution during the winter expansion of the Antarctic marginal ice zone. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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