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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An acoustical study of the properties and behaviour of sea ice Xie, Yunbo


The primary goal of this thesis is to utilize acoustical radiation from the Arctic ice cover to infer the response of sea ice to environmental forcing, and to sense remotely the mechanical properties of the ice. The work makes use of two experiments in the Canadian arctic undertaken by the Ocean Acoustics Group of the Institute of Ocean Sciences, which resulted in an extensive body of acoustical and related environmental data. Cracking sounds originating from both first and multi-year ice fracturing processes are analyzed. Data used in this thesis also include sound made by artificial sources. The survey of in situ ice conditions by air photography and synthetic radar imaging, and a crack distribution map based on observations made with a 3-D hydrophone array, reveal, for the first time, a close correlation between thermal cracking events and ice type. It is shown that most of the thermal cracks occur in irregular multi-year ice where there are exposed, snow-free surfaces. The study shows that acoustical radiation from some cracks implies a slip-stick seismic movement over the faults, and some cracks tend to radiate more high frequency sound downwards rather than sideways. This phenomenon is most clearly apparent in sounds made by artificial sources. Another interesting finding from this study is that the sound of cracking ice does not always exhibit a vertical dipole radiation pattern, and some cracks due to thermal tension on smooth first year ice radiate more energy horizontally. The observations have motivated the development of various analytical models. These models allow the observed acoustical features to be related to the length and depth of a crack, the thickness of the ice cover and its Young's modulus. The models also show that maximum sound radiation from a crack is in the direction of external forcing. Finally, it is found that noise due to rubbing between ice floes exhibits a narrow band spectrum. This phenomenon is investigated and a linear model derived shows that the observed peak frequency is that of the first mode horizontal shear wave triggered by frictional effects at the ice floe edge.

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