Free «Thermostatic Effects on Sea Ice» Essay Sample

Sea ice often floats on the dense water resulting to a barrier between the atmosphere and the ocean. This barrier created prevents the transfer of gases and heat across the interface. Because water has got a high heat capacity, it transfers large amounts of heat to the atmosphere while at the same time maintain the temperature of the atmosphere near the ocean surface at about 0 degrees. With the sea-ice present, the atmosphere’s temperature can go down to as low as 30 degrees because of lack of exchange of heat and increased albedo. This will result to a dramatic difference in the temperatures in the air. Thus the presence of sea-ice on sea surfaces is the cause of the dramatic changes in temperature and heat on the seas surface in Polar Regions.

One of the ways in which the sea-ice controls the temperature changes on the surface of the sea is through the albedo effect. Albedo is the measure of the sea surface’s reflectivity. The darker the surface the lower the albedos as dark surfaces absorb more wavelengths of light while light surfaces reflect most light. As a result, sea-ice have a very high albedos thus areas covered by these sea-ice absorb less heat compared to other uncovered parts. The albedo effect result is considered a positive feedback on the sea-ice cover. When the sea-ice grows, the albedo increases consequently decreasing the radiation absorbed thus cooling the temperatures.

When sea-ice accumulates on the surface of the sea, they form a distinct layer in which the sea temperatures changes are more rapid with depth than what is experienced in the layers below or above. Such a layer is believed to form an invisible blanket that separates the calm deep water below it and the upper layer. The blanket forms temporally as it responds to phenomena like radiative cooling or heating of the water surface during the day or at night. Latent heat transfer is absorbed when the sea-ice melts and released to the atmosphere when the sea-ice cools. The heat is released when water freezes and also from water that was initially ice evaporates. The absorption and release of latent heat changes the temperatures at that particular area. The phenomena of the sea-ice have been observed to determine the heat changes in the Polar Regions thus determining climate of such regions.


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