Division IV: Sea Ice, Lake and River Ice

Division Head: Sandra Barreira
Deputy Head: Alex Fraser

This division focuses on studies of sea ice as well as of lake and river ice.

Sea ice forms as a thin, seasonal cover on the ocean surface by freezing of saline seawater. It has a significant influence in the climate system because of its control on the surface radiation balance as well as on heat, momentum and moisture transfer between atmosphere and ocean. Processes of sea ice – atmosphere – ocean interaction, and the annual expansion and retreat of sea ice in both polar regions are important targets for monitoring and forecasting. Sea ice is also an important habitat for marine ecosystems in both the Arctic and Antarctic. The current ongoing reduction of Arctic sea ice area and mass, particularly in the summer, is of major concern. On the contrary Antarctic sea ice has not shown such drastic reduction and there is an increasing trend in area and concentration. Understanding this as well as its future behaviour is also of importance. In-situ process studies, remote sensing and analysis and modelling of sea ice are expected to contribute to our understanding of the climate system, as well as to engineering applications.

Lake ice responds to climate variability, and at same time can affect regional climate. Air temperature, snow accumulation and lake water condition determine lake ice variations. Lake ice forms an important component of landscapes and the cryosphere in cold regions, especially at high latitudes where a large number of lakes exist. Long-term records of lake and river ice have been used as a proxy indicator of winter climate conditions. The formation and breakup of river ice can be a hazard, hence engineering approaches have been used to better understand and forecast ice break-up.

The Division Sea Ice, Lake and River Ice aims to promote collaborative work and discussion in the many scientific and engineering communities with an interest, including oceanography, atmospheric science, remote sensing, coastal/offshore/river engineering, marine/ marine and lake ecology, and many others.