Abstract

Sea ice contains numerous pockets of brine and precipitated salts whose size and number distributions change dramatically with temperature. Theoretical treatment of scattering produced by these inclusions requires information on refractive-index differences among the brine, salts, and surrounding ice. Lacking specific data on refractive-index variations in the brine, we carried out laboratory measurements in freezing-equilibrium solutions between −2 and −32 °C. Index values at 589 nm increased from 1.341 to 1.397 over this temperature range, corresponding to salinities of 35 and 240 parts per thousand (ppt). Spectral data were also taken at 50-nm intervals between 400 and 700 nm in nonequilibrium solutions with salinities ranging up to 300 ppt. Spectral gradients increased slightly with salinity but showed no measurable dependence on temperature between +12 and −16 °C. The Lorentz–Lorenz equation, combined with data on density, molar refractivities, and brine composition, yielded temperature-dependent index predictions in excellent agreement with the experimental data. Similar index and density measurements in freezing sodium chloride brines yielded values nearly identical to those in the sea-ice brines. The absence of mirabilite crystals in sodium chloride ice, however, will cause it to have higher transmissivity and lower reflectivity than sea ice above −22 °C.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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