Maud Rise Polynya to 17 Sept 2017

Quick post on the Maud Polynya in the Weddell Sea that I wrote about last week. This is the sea ice data 17 September 2017, and the polynya is both clear and large.

The location of the polynya over Maud Rise. Sea ice data from DMSP SMMI.
The location of the polynya over Maud Rise. Sea ice data from DMSP SMMI.

An enlargement of the polynya shows that it is practically open water.

Enlargement of the polynya over Maud Rise. Sea ice data from DMSP SMMI 17 Sept 2017.
Enlargement of the polynya over Maud Rise. Sea ice data from DMSP SMMI 17 Sept 2017.

Open water at 64°S and in the middle of the Antarctic winter...

The ocean is losing a lot of heat.

I talked about that a little in the previous post, but will write another post soon.

This is the bathymetry in the same region and you can see that the Polynya is just to the east of Maud Rise.

The bathymetry of Maud Rise
The bathymetry of Maud Rise

I made an animation of the growth of the polynya over the first half of September to show the growth. The supply of heat from the ocean is obviously not constant and it is really only over the last five days that the open water forms.

The third opening of the Maud Rise Polynya 29 August to 17 September 2017.
The third opening of the Maud Rise Polynya 29 August to 17 September 2017.

The ice first starts to reduce in concentration both to the east and west of the shallow bank of Maud Rise.

Over the entire growing season a more interesting picture emerges. The polynya is cycling.

 

  1. The sea ice is slow to form over Maud Rise at the start of the winter season, that indicates there is an excess of stored heat over Maud Rise from the previous summer.
  2. The polynya almost appears at the end of July and August, certainly the sea ice concentration drops and this is to the west of Maud Rise.
  3. The polynya really develops after 10th September 2017 to the east of Maud Rise.

I will calculate areas of open water per day next and plot that, and of course keep an eye on it to see when it will close.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Maud Rise Polynya to 17 Sept 2017

    1. Mark Brandon

      Post author

      We actually know the sea floor v. v. well around Maud Rise.
      It's likely just an effect of fluid dynamics, and something called a Taylor column.
      It brings the warm water up from depth in the vicinity of the relatively shallow area.
      This experiment sort of shows the effect.
      Physics again...

      Reply
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