Structure of a Multi-Year Pressure Ridge


  • A. Kovacs
  • W.F. Weeks
  • S. Ackley
  • W.D. Hibler



Icebreakers, Icebreaking, Marine transportation, Physical properties, Pressure ridges, Salinity, Sea ice, Manhattan (Ship), Strength, Beaufort Sea


Three transverse profiles across a large pressure ridge located in the Beaufort Sea are presented. The ridge sail extended 4m. above sea level and the ridge keel 13 m. below. The cross-sections of the ridge keel can be described as roughly semi-circular. This suggests that form drag coefficients for flow transverse to the long axes of multi-year ridges may be as high as 0.8. Examination of several salinity, temperature and brine-volume profiles shows that much of the ice in the ridge has a very low salinity and is quite strong. All the inter-block voids that initially existed in the ridge at the time of its formation have been completely filled with ice. These observations, coupled with icebreaking experience indicate that multi-year ridges are, indeed, significant obstacles to even the largest icebreaking ship and should be avoided if possible. A very large first year ridge with a sail height of 12.8 m. is also described. This is the largest free-floating ridge yet measured.