Big Freeze

7 December 2010 by Sarah Starkey

Dock with ice on water

Canning Half Tide Dock

Apparently the big freeze will be over by the end of the week.  We were lucky this time in Liverpool, just slippery pavements rather than feet of snow.  This is how the Canning Half Tide dock looked this morning, partially frozen with a few confused seagulls picking their way across the ice. 

I should really include something maritime related rather than just a nice view out of the window of the Maritime Archives & Library, so I shall mention a few points from the entry on ‘ice’ in the very useful Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, part of our library collections.  Sea water freezes at about -1.9 degrees centigrade rather than the normal 0 degrees because of the dissolved salts in the water.  When sea water freezes the salts are left in solution making the unfrozen water saltier.  Frozen sea water forms pack ice which can last for 5 years in the Arctic, whereas icebergs are broken off from glaciers or ice shelves, so we’re unlikely to see one of those in the dock.

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