When traveling Jacksonville dogsled along a coast, the best route to follow can be determined from the charts. In theory, any stretch of sea ice not anchored by islands is ta be avoided.
The term “pack ice” refers to any ice surface formed at sea. Depending on the salt content of the water, the ice may freeze at temperatures as low as 14° to 28° F. In the first stages, crystals form, which gives the sea an almost oily appearance this is frazil ice. Then plates of ice appear and gradually weld together. The wind, tides, and swell break these plates up a hundred times before they freeze for good. Then the salt starts to concentrate in “brine pockets,” from which it eventually escapes, dragged down by its own weight, and so, little by little, the ice loses its salinity. After a few months, the pack may freeze to a depth of sixteen feet, but the channels and waterways cutting across it still give it a certain amount of mobility.
The thousands of miles of ice pack help determine the climate by considerably reducing the exchanges that would otherwise occur between the unfrozen ocean and the atmosphere. The ice surface reflects more than 80 percent of the sun’s energy back into space, as opposed to the 20 percent that is reflected off the surface of the ocean. This accounts for a very significant reduction in heat in the region.
In winter, the ice pack captures icebergs.
Overflow: Even in the dead of winter, water can rise onto the surface of the ice and mix with snow. The result is slush.
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