DFG-Project SIMBIS (Sea Ice Mass Balance influenced by Ice Shelves) 2012-2015

Figure 1: Satellite image of the main study region. Additional points of interest are marked as well as the profile where sea-ice thickness measurements are performed in 2010.


The overall goal of this project is to improve our understanding of formation processes and properties of Antarctic sea ice and how these are influenced by snow cover and platelet ice. Platelet ice is ice that is formed from super-cooled water originating from ice shelf cavities. In order to achieve this goal, we will combine in-situ measurements with satellite observations and numerical studies. In-situ observations will focus on Atka Bay close to Neumayer III station, Antarctic, but also include complementary measurements during the Polarstern cruise ANT-XIX/6 into the Weddell Sea, Antarctic. Thickness measurements of sea-ice and the under-ice platelet-ice layer will reveal the role of ice shelves for sea-ice formation and its seasonality. Energy balance and optical measurements will be performed to describe thermodynamic and optical properties of sea ice and its snow cover. In order to upscale the local measurements, we will analyze several data products from satellites and work towards new multi-sensor approaches for sea-ice analyses. Numerical simulations will be used to quantify the mass contributions from snow and from platelet ice on regional and circumpolar scales.

The department of environmental meteorology at the University of Trier participiates in SIMBIS with the following main goals

  • Measurement of snow- and ice properties on fast ice in Atka Bay (NOV 2012) and on sea ice in the Weddell Sea (Polarstern Expedition, 2013)
  • Development of new methods to derive sea-ice and snow properties from optical, thermal, and microwave satellite data with the aid of (in-situ) field data
  • Supply of satellite data to support field campaigns and expeditions