Deciphering the Physico-Chemical Conditions Leading to the Formation of Ikaite in Polar Sea Ice

Yubin hu

Nationality Chinese

Year of selection 2010

Institution Stiftung Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Country Germany

Risk Environment


3 years


Never heard of ikaite? Don't worry! That’s probably because this rare mineral (CaCO3.6H2O) has only been recently discovered to appear in sea ice. Despite its tiny size (μm), the formation of ikaite could lead to CO2 fl ux out of sea ice, while its dissolution could lead to the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. Yubin Hu’s current research investigates the role played by ikaite, which may contribute to an accurate understanding of its role in the carbon cycle—a crucial issue for global warming prediction. Hu will explore the mysteries of ikaite formation based on laboratory experiments. He will use state-of-the-art scientifi c equipment to reproduce the conditions of polar sea ice. Hu’s results may give a clue as to whether ikaite should be accounted for in climate models such as that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
My research focuses on the discovery of Ikaite (CaCO3.6H20) in sea ice recently, confirms the assumption that the formation of Calcium carbonate in sea ice. My research focuses on the formation of ikaite under sea ice conditions (eg. high pH, high salinity, low temperature) to reveal which condition favors the formation of ikaite. And also, I am interested in the fate of ikaite after sea ice melts. Whether it is dissolved in the seawater or sink to the ocean bottom is an important question for the polar and global carbon cycle.

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