Midsummer energy balance for the southern seas

Gerd Wendler, Brian Hartmann, Chris Wyatt, Martha Shulski, Henry Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


During a ship voyage from Tasmania to Antarctica in summer 2000/01, radiative and meteorological measurements were continuously made, from which the surface energy budget was calculated. Sea conditions throughout the voyage ranged from open water to broken pack and finally to snow-covered unbroken sea ice in McMurdo Sound. The global radiation increased on average during the trip (to higher latitudes) as we travelled poleward. The net radiation, which was positive (toward the surface) on average, decreased however, mostly due to the increase in surface albedo. For open water, most of the net radiation is used for evapouration (61%), while for broken sea-ice conditions, nearly all energy is used for melting of the sea ice or heating of the ocean (96%). For unbroken snow-covered sea ice, the net radiation lies close to zero, due to the high surface albedo, which reached a mean value of 0.81. The sensible heat flux becomes the largest heat source and nearly all the energy is used for warming of the surface. Finally, a Radarsat image, on which the ship track was visible, was used to compare the ship observations with satellite derived ice types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-148
Number of pages18
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antarctica
  • Energy budget
  • Radarsat
  • Sea ice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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