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Ice (Hydroform)

Component: Hydroform

Unique Identifier: 678

Hydroform Class Water Mass
Hydroform Ice
Hydroform Type Drift Ice
Fast Ice
Frazil or Grease Ice
Ice Field
Ice Floe
Pack Ice
Pancake Ice

Definition Frozen form of water, which is less dense than liquid water; ice floats on the surface of liquid water, sometimes extending into deep water zones. This property drives a number of important biological and physical processes in the ocean, including preventing freezing of the ocean to the bottom. Ice either floats on—or forms a solid cover on—the underlying water, which isolates atmospheric input for the duration of cover. Nonetheless, strong circulation and water motion occurs in the aquatic system under the ice (driven by advection of adjacent water masses or thermal convection). Because freshwater freezes at a higher temperature than salt water, surface freezing of the ocean concentrates salt brine in the liquid water below the ice. Ice formation and ice cover maintenance is relatively stable in both spatial and temporal terms, determined by relative air and water temperatures, velocity of water movements, and geomorphology of the setting.