sea ice

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hostile ice

from the point of view of the submariner, an ice canopy containing no large ice skylights or other features which permit a submarine to surface.


(1) [sea ice] a smooth hill of ice that forms on the sea ice surface from eroding ridges, particularly during the summer melt; the formation of hummocks is similar to young mountain peaks with steep slopes that erode into smooth, rolling hills. (2) [frozen ground] Small lumps of soil pushed up by frost action, often found in uniformly spaced in large groups. Hummocks can form in areas of permafrost or seasonally frozen ground, and are one of the most common surface features of the Arctic.
Hummocks make the sea ice surface appear as rolling hills. (Photo courtesy of Ted Maksym, United States Naval Academy.)


[sea ice] pressure process by which floating ice becomes broken up into hummocks.

ice cake

a floe smaller than 20 meters (66 feet) across.

ice canopy

pack ice from the point of view of the submariner.

ice cluster

a concentration of sea ice, covering 100's of square kilometers, which is found in the same region every summer.

ice concentration

the fraction of an area that is covered by sea ice.

ice edge

the boundary at any given time between open water and sea, river or lake ice of any kind, whether drifting or fast; may be termed compacted when it is clear-cut, or open when it forms the indefinite edge of an area of dispersed ice.
Aerial view of the sea ice edge. (Photo courtesy of Todd Arbetter, National Snow and Ice Data Center.)

ice extent

the total area covered by some amount of ice, including open water between ice floes; ice extent is typically reported in square kilometers.

ice floe

a cohesive sheet of ice floating in the water; the sea ice cover is made up of conglomerates of floes; ice floes are not unique to sea ice, as they also occur in rivers and lakes.
Aerial view of ice floes.