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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Oct 2020

14 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

The Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber (RvG-ASIC): an experimental facility for studying ocean/sea-ice/atmosphere interactions

Max Thomas1, James France1,2,3, Odile Crabeck1, Benjamin Hall4, Verena Hof5, Dirk Notz5,6, Tokoloho Rampai4, Leif Riemenschneider5, Oliver Tooth1, Mathilde Tranter1, and Jan Kaiser1 Max Thomas et al.
  • 1Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK, NR4 7TJ
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham TW20 0EX, UK
  • 4Chemical Engineering Deptartment, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • 5Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 6Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), University of Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Sea ice is difficult, expensive, and potentially dangerous to observe in nature. The remoteness of the Arctic and Southern Oceans complicates sampling logistics, while the heterogeneous nature of sea ice and rapidly changing environmental conditions present challenges for conducting process studies. Here, we describe the Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber (RvG-ASIC), a laboratory facility designed to reproduce polar processes and overcome some of these challenges. The RvG-ASIC is an open-topped 3.5 m3 glass tank housed in a coldroom (temperature range: −55 to +30 °C). The RvG-ASIC is equipped with a wide suite of instruments for ocean, sea ice, and atmospheric measurements, as well as visible and UV lighting. The infrastructure, available instruments, and typical experimental protocols are described.

To characterise some of the technical capabilities of our facility, we have quantified the timescale over which our chamber exchanges gas with the outside, τl = (0.66 ± 0.07) days, and the mixing rate of our experimental ocean, τm = (4.2 ± 0.1) minutes. Characterising our light field, we show that the light intensity across the tank varies by less than 10 % near the centre of the tank but drops to as low as 60 % of the maximum intensity in one corner. The temperature sensitivity of our light sources over the 400 nm to 700 nm range (PAR) is (0.028 ± 0.003) W m−2 °C−1, with a maximum irradiance of 26.4 W m−2 at 0 °C; over the 320 nm to 380 nm range, it is (0.16 ± 0.1) W m−2 °C−1, with a maximum irradiance of 5.6 W m−2 at 0 °C.

We also present results characterising our experimental sea ice. The extinction coefficient for PAR varies from 3.7 m−1 to 6.1 m−1 when calculated from irradiance measurements exterior to the sea ice and from 4.5 m−1 to 6.2 m−1 when calculated from irradiance measurements within the sea ice. The bulk salinity of our experimental sea ice is measured using three techniques, modelled using a halo-dynamic one-dimensional (1D) gravity drainage model, and calculated from a salt and mass budget. The growth rate of our sea ice is between 2 cm d−1 and 4 cm d−1 for air temperatures of (−9.2 ± 0.9) °C and (−26.6 ± 0.9) °C. The PAR extinction coefficients, vertically integrated bulk salinities, and growth rates all lie within the range of previously reported comparable values for first-year sea ice. The vertically integrated bulk salinity and growth rates can be reproduced well by a 1D model. Taken together, the similarities between our laboratory sea ice and observations in nature, and our ability to reproduce our results with a model, give us confidence that sea ice grown in the RvG-ASIC is a good representation of natural sea ice.

Max Thomas et al.

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Data, plot scripts and model code Max Thomas, James France, Odile Crabeck, Benjamin Hall, Verena Hof, Dirk Notz, Tokoloho Rampai, Leif Riemenschneider, Oliver Tooth, Mathilde Tranter, and Jan Kaiser

Max Thomas et al.


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Short summary
We describe the Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber, a laboratory facility for studying ocean/sea ice/atmosphere interactions. We characterise the technical capabilities of our facility to help future users plan and perform experiments. We also characterise the sea ice grown in in the facility, showing that the extinction of photosynthetically active radiation within, the bulk salinity of, and the growth rate of our artificial sea ice are within the range of natural values.
We describe the Roland von Glasow Air-Sea-Ice Chamber, a laboratory facility for studying...