Christopher Barton, Ph.D. (Advisor); Sarah Tebbens, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Doyle Watts, Ph.D. (Committee Member)
Master of Science (MS)
The cumulative number versus floe area distribution of seasonal ice floes from four satellite images covering the Summer season (November - February) in the Weddell Sea Antarctica during the summer breakup and melting is fit by two scale-invariant power scaling regimes for the floe areas ranging from 7 to 20 x 108 m2. Scaling exponents, β, for larger floe areas range from -1.5 to -1.7 with an average of -1.6 for floe areas ranging from 6 x 106 to 55 x 107 m2. Scaling exponents, β, for smaller floe areas range from -0.8 to -0.9 with an average of -0.85 for floe areas ranging from 3 x 106 to 1.55 x 106 m2. The inflection point between the two scaling regimes ranges from 62 x 106 to 151 x 106 m2 and generally moves from larger to smaller floe areas through the summer season. We propose that the two power scaling regimes and the inflection between them are defined during the initial breakup of sea ice solely by the process of fracturing. The distributions of floe size regimes retain their scaling exponents as the floe pack evolves from larger to smaller floe areas from the initial breakup through the summer season, due to scale-independent processes including grinding, crushing, fracture, and melting. The scaling exponents for floe area distribution are in the same range as those reported in previous studies of Antarctic and Arctic floes. A probabilistic model of fragmentation is presented that generates a single power scaling distribution of fragment size.
Department or Program
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Year Degree Awarded
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