Sebastian Mårtensson
Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University

Ridged sea ice modelling in climate applications

Time and place
Tue 22 Oct 2013, 10.00
William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens Hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14

(This event has taken place.)

This work aims to increase our understanding of the nature of large scale features of sea ice from a dynamics point of view.Sea ice plays an important part in the exchange of heat and humidity between sea and air and thus is an important component of the climate system. Its physical presence also directly impacts the various forms of life such as diatoms, polar bears and humans alike.The dynamics of sea ice affect both weather and climate, through the large scale drift in the Arctic from the Siberian coast towards Fram Strait, through creation of cracks in the ice called leads or polynyas, and through ridging and other mechanical deformations of ice floes.In this work, we have focused on modelling of ridged ice for a number of reasons. Direct observations of the internal ice state is very difficult to perform and in general, observations of sea ice are either sparse or of limited information density. Ridged ice can be seen as the memory of high ice stress events, giving us a view on these highly dynamic events. Ridging is of major importance for the ice thickness distribution, as the thickest ice can only be formed through mechanical processes. Further, ridged ice is of direct interest for anyone conducting shipping through seasonal or perennial ice covered seas as it can form impenetrable barriers or in extreme even cases crush a ship caught within the ice pack.

To this end, a multi-category sea ice model, the HELsinki Multi category Ice model (HELMI), was implemented into the Rossby Centre Ocean model (RCO). HELMI has explicit formulations for ridged and rafted ice, as well as sub-grid scale ice thickness distribution (a feature shared with other multi category models) and an ice strength based on energetics. These features give RCO better representation of sub-grid scale physics and gives us the possibility to study the deformed ice in detail.

In paper I we look at the change in behaviour in the Arctic as the ice becomes more mobile, leading to a slight increase in modelled ridged ice volume in the central Arctic, despite a general trend of a decreasing ice cover.Paper II takes us to the Baltic Sea and the possibilities of modelling ridge ice concentration with a statistical model.In Paper III we investigate how the diminishing ice cover in future scenarios affects the biological activity in the Baltic Sea.Finally Paper IV investigates how the ice stress and the internal ice force can be interpreted in terms of ice compression on the ship scale.