Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Sea ice: More than just frozen water

A Los Alamos National Laboratory team developed a software package known as CICE that calculates the physics of sea ice, such as how it freezes, melts and moves across the ocean’s surface.
December 16, 2018
seal on ice with ship in distance

A seal rests on a slab of sea ice while a ships crew walk in the distance.

Sea ice: More than just frozen water

by Elizabeth Hunke and Andrew Roberts

Looking like plates, sheets and mounds of fractured alabaster on a surface of shimmering blue, sea ice is more than a beautiful phenomenon — it influences Earth’s climate, wildlife and the people who must contend with it year-round.

Earth’s polar oceans are cold enough that it’s possible to walk on seawater turned to ice. About 9 million square miles of ice rest on top of the world’s high-altitude seas and oceans.

Long ago, frequented by just a few rugged groups living in the high north, the polar regions are now home to more people than ever, with interests that range across commercial shipping; mining and energy development; recreational fishing; hunting and tourism; scientific research; and military bases and defense operations.

This story first appeared in Santa Fe New Mexican.