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A Mixture of Sea Ice
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A Mixture of Sea Ice

December 20, 2012
This complex mixture of different types of Antarctic sea ice was photographed on Oct. 13, 2012, in the Bellingshausen Sea with the Digital Mapping System (DMS) onboard NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory. Different thicknesses of sea ice common in the Southern Ocean form a spectrum of colors and shapes ranging from dark black (open water), a thin grease-like covering (grease ice), and thicker grey ice. Older sea ice has a bright white covering of snow and many chaotic deformation features visible as ridges and rubble fields caused by the continuous motion of the ice pack. DMS sea ice imagery is used during NASA’s Operation IceBridge over Antarctica to detect areas of open water so that scientists can calculate the thickness of the surrounding sea ice. Credit: NASA/Digital Mapping System