Coastal zone of the Gulf of Finland in winter

Participating scientists

  • Ioanna Merkouriadi

Sea ice influences the physics of freezing seas, by (a) providing an insulating surface film, (b) its high albedo, (c) modifying the salt budget of the upper layer and (d) modifying the transfer of wind momentum to the water body. Additionally, it can act as a buffer to atmospheric fallout and is able to trap suspended matter and sediments from the sea. In drifting ice, this matter can be transported far. The Gulf of Finland is located in the seasonal sea ice zone (SSIZ), were sea ice forms in the wintertime and melts in late spring. This seasonality entitles this sea as a key area regarding climate change. In the SSIZ, the wintertime is of major importance to the physics and ecology of the basin. The sea freezes, and the evolution of the ice and the water body progress in an interactive manner. Freezing starts from the shallow coastal areas were ice generates in the form of fast ice. It is anchored to the shore and does not move with winds or currents. During the winter it progresses further offshore, while melting starts from both the land boundary and the open ocean boundary. The last pieces of ice to disappear are remnants of large pressure ridges. When the basin of interest is located at the climatological edge of the SSIZ, there is also high interannual variability in the ice conditions.

R/V Aranda

Research vessel Aranda at the Gulf of Finland

Field measurements at the Gulf of Finland

Field measurements at the Gulf of Finland