188.8.131.52 Snow on Sea Ice
Warren et al. (1999) analysed 37 years (1954–1991) of snow depth and density measurements made at Soviet drifting stations on multi-year arctic sea ice. They found a weak negative trend for all months, with the largest trend a decrease of 8 cm (23%) over 37 years in May, the month of maximum snow depth.
There are few data on snow cover and distribution in the Antarctic, and none adequate for detecting any trend in snow cover. Massom et al. (2001) collated available ship observations (between 1981 and 1987) to show that average antarctic snow thickness is typically 0.15 to 0.20 m, and varies widely both seasonally and regionally. An important process in the antarctic sea ice zone is the formation of snow-ice, which occurs when a snow loading depresses thin sea ice below sea level, causing seawater flooding of the near-surface snow and subsequent rapid freezing.