Skip to main content

Library Item

Effects of freezing, growth, and ice cover on gas transport processes in laboratory seawater experiments


Gas exchange through sea ice is a determining factor in the polar ocean budget of climatically-active gases. We use SF6 and O2 as conservative gas tracers to observe transport between the water, ice and air during conditions of freezing and partial ice cover in artificial seawater. During ice growth, O2 and SF6, as non-polar solutes, were rejected from the ice into the underlying water at a faster rate than that observed for salt. Measurements of the gas exchange rate, k, through partial ice cover exceeded that expected from linear scaling between 100% open water (k100%) and complete ice cover: at 15% open water, k was 25% of k100%. These results indicate that the net flux of gas through the ice pack may not scale linearly with open water area, as circulation processes under the ice affect the gas exchange rate.