Platelet Ice under Arctic Pack Ice in Winter

Christian.Katlein [ at ]


Platelet ice is a unique type of sea ice; its occurrence has numerous implications for physical and ecological systems. Mostly, platelet ice has been reported from the Antarctic where ice crystals grow in supercooled ice shelf water and accumulate below sea ice to form sub-ice platelet layers. In the Arctic however, platelet ice formation has only been sparsely documented so far. The associated formation processes and morphology differ significantly from the Antarctic, but currently remain poorly understood. Here, we present the first comprehensive, repeat in-situ observations of a decimeter thick sub-ice platelet layer under drifting pack ice of the Central Arctic in winter. Observations carried out with a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) during the midwinter leg of the MOSAiC drift expedition provided clear evidence of the growth of platelet layers from supercooled water present in the ocean mixed layer. This process was observed under all ice types present during the surveys. Oceanographic data from autonomous observing platforms leads us to the conclusion that platelet ice formation is a widespread yet overlooked feature of Arctic winter sea ice growth.

Item Type
Conference (Talk)
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Event Details
AGU Fall Meeting, 01 Dec 2020 - 17 Dec 2020, online.
Eprint ID
Cite as
Katlein, C. , Mohrholz, V. , Sheikin, I. , Itkin, P. , Divine, D. V. , Stroeve, J. , Jutila, A. , Krampe, D. , Shimanchuk, E. , Raphael, I. , Rabe, B. , Kuznetsov, I. , Mallet, M. , Liu, H. , Hoppmann, M. , Fang, Y. , Dumitrascu, A. , Arndt, S. , Anhaus, P. , Nicolaus, M. , Matero, I. , Oggier, M. , Eicken, H. and Haas, C. (2020): Platelet Ice under Arctic Pack Ice in Winter , AGU Fall Meeting, online, 1 December 2020 - 17 December 2020 .


Download (6MB) | Preview


Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item