Audio Post

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  1. Jonathan Beall Says:

    Transcript:

    Hi. Today was a quiet day. Well, in terms activity. It was a quiet day in terms of activity because it was a noisy day in terms of wind. We had a good day of spirited scientific discussions in the tent instead. We were mostly discussing bubbles and their contribution to the amount of light reflected from ice, or it’s albedo.

    Ice is very transparent. Light can travel a long way before it gets absorbed. If there are no bubbles, most light will just travel straight through, and the albedo will be low. If there are bubbles, though, light can hit the bubbles and bounce away in a different direction. A lot of the light that goes into the ice will end up bouncing right back out, which is why bubbly ice ends up having a higher albedo than clear ice. Ice in glaciers and on ice sheets, like where we are, has lots of bubbles because it’s formed from compressed snow. The spaces between snowflakes at the surface will turn into bubbles as the snow is squeezed into ice and a small amount of the air remains behind as bubbles form.

    We also talked about cracks in the ice, which can increase the albedo just as bubbles do. The blue ice here has lots of cracks in it, mostly quite thin. We think they form partially because the ice is cracking as it moves, and partially because, as the ice erodes away from the constant wind, the ice lower down is no longer under as much pressure, and it expands creating more cracks.

    We actually put on our parkas and went out to look at the ice near camp and see how the cracks behaved and to figure how we might account for them in our measurements. We probably looked a bit silly lying face down on the ice and wriggling along like seals, but then science is frequently a little silly; that’s one of the reasons I like it.

    Cheers!

  2. Repost: Cracks and Bubbles « Squid on the Ice Says:

    […] Cracks and Bubbles By psychroteuthis Original post, called in on January 13, 2011. Thanks once again to Jonathan Beall for the […]

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