Name: Anita C.
In the blizzard of 1995 in new jersey, someone I know is telling me in Cape
May, NJ the shore line of the ocean froze. I am under the impression that it
would be impossible for the moving water and breaking waves to freeze. Is
this assumption correct?
Although I know nothing of the incident to which you refer, even ocean salt
water will freeze if gotten cold enough consider the arctic and the
ships that ply those waters. However, your analysis is correct. Certainly
freezing would be made more difficult by breaking waves both because of the
mechanics and the fact that waves represent inflow of water from the deeper
off-shore source which would not be nearly so cold as the surrounding air.
so many news stories that do not always get the facts straight, perhaps the
report dealt with a more-or-less stationary backwater area rather than open
Under very cold conditions, even salt water can freeze.
So, the temperature was probably way below freezing,
allowing the water to freeze and accumulate as ice
on the shoreline. Where I see this every winter is on
the shores of Lake Michigan (which contains fresh
water), where the ice buildup on the shore during
very cold winters can extend out into the lake for
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
No, the assumption is not correct. If the temperature is low enough, salt
water will freeze. There are two regimes. In the first, water freezes as
pure water ice, leaving a more concentrated brine. In the second, salt water
freezes occluding the brine. Search, the topic: "icicles" for more details.
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Update: June 2012