All Thayer Events

PhD Thesis Proposal: David Clemens-Sewall



1:00pm - 2:00pm ET

Jackson Conference Room (232 Cummings Hall)

"Snow Redistribution and Apparent Thermal Conductivity on Arctic Sea Ice"


How much heat can escape the Arctic Ocean in the winter—and hence at what rate can the sea ice grow? The importance of this question rises as climate change drives the decline of Arctic sea ice, leading to a greater proportion of the ice cover growing each winter. It is hypothesized that snow redistribution changes the apparent thermal conductivity of the snow on top of the sea ice and hence the rate of ice growth. However, the scope of this snow redistribution and the magnitude of the impacts on apparent thermal conductivity is not known. Part of this uncertainty arises from limitations on our ability to observe small changes in the snow surface on the scale of an entire ice floe. I develop novel techniques for observing snow redistribution on Arctic sea ice. With these observations I build conceptual models of how snow accumulation and redistribution change the three-dimensional snow distribution on the floe-scale. Finally, I use these models and thermodynamic observations to model how these snow processes change the apparent thermal conductivity of the snow cover and discuss the impacts of these changes on thermodynamic ice growth. This thesis addresses how wintertime snow accumulation and redistribution change the floe-scale, three-dimensional distribution of snow on Arctic sea ice and how much this distribution impacts the apparent thermal conductivity of the snow cover.

Thesis Committee

  • Christopher Polashenski, PhD (Chair)
  • Donald Perovich, PhD
  • Matthew Parno, PhD
  • Marisa Palucis, PhD
  • Colin Meyer, PhD


For more information, contact Daryl Laware at