Can sea ice move?

In the freezing process, much of the salt in ocean water is squeezed out of the frozen crystal formations, though some remains frozen in the ice. This cold water moves along the ocean floor towards the equator, while warmer water on the ocean surface moves in the direction of the poles.

What causes sea ice to move?

Wind is the primary force responsible for ice motion, particularly at the timescale of days or weeks. The wind blowing on the top surface of the sea ice results in a drag force on the ice surface and causes the ice to drift.

Where does sea ice occur on Earth?

Put bluntly, sea ice is ocean water that has frozen solid. Unlike glaciers (which form on land) or icebergs (which break off of glaciers and fall into the ocean), the freezing, growing, shrinking, and melting of sea ice all occurs in the waters of Earth’s Arctic and Antarctic regions.

What is special about sea ice?

Why is Arctic sea ice important? Arctic sea ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate global climate. Sea ice has a bright surface; 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes it is reflected back into space. As sea ice melts in the summer, it exposes the dark ocean surface.

How thick can sea ice get?

While thickness varies significantly within both regions, Antarctic ice is typically 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet) thick, while most of the Arctic is covered by sea ice 2 to 3 meters (6 to 9 feet) thick. Some Arctic regions are covered with ice that is 4 to 5 meters (12 to 15 feet) thick.

How is sea ice monitored?

A laser or radar pulse directed downward from a satellite (or aircraft) can measure the distance between the satellite and the Earth’s surface (see Figure 3). Using this method the difference between the ocean surface (in the leads between sea ice floes) and the sea ice surface – i.e., the freeboard – can be measured.

What would happen if the ocean wasn’t salty?

A sea without salt would decimate marine life and dramatically affect our weather and temperatures, making human life on Earth very difficult, if not impossible. There are roughly 228,450 species in the ocean, and as many as 2 million more to be discovered. But for the most part, all saltwater species would perish.

Can the ocean floor freeze?

Ocean water freezes just like freshwater, but at lower temperatures. Fresh water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit but seawater freezes at about 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit , because of the salt in it. When seawater freezes, however, the ice contains very little salt because only the water part freezes.

Where does fast ice grow in the ocean?

Fast ice. Fast ice (also called land-fast ice, landfast ice, and shore-fast ice) is sea ice that is “fastened” to the coastline, to the sea floor along shoals or to grounded icebergs. Fast ice may either grow in place from the sea water or by freezing pieces of drifting ice to the shore or other anchor sites.

What kind of ice is on the sea floor?

Fast ice (also called land-fast ice, landfast ice, and shore-fast ice) is sea ice that is “fastened” to the coastline, to the sea floor along shoals or to grounded icebergs.

What happens if the Arctic sea ice melts?

The melting of Arctic sea ice removes an obstacle from shipping liquefied natural gas off Alaska’s North Slope, according to the Anchorage-based company, Qilak LNG. “Our reliability quotient goes up,” said Mead Treadwell, the Republican businessman and former Alaska lieutenant governor who has helped to spearhead the project.

How is fast ice separated from other ice?

The ice foot refers to ice that has formed at the shoreline, through multiple freezing of water between ebb tides, and is separated from the remainder of the fast ice surface by tidal cracks. Further away from the coastline, the ice may become anchored to the sea bottom—it is then referred to as bottomfast ice.