Granular flow in the marginal ice zone
Feltham, D. L. (2005) Granular flow in the marginal ice zone. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 363 (1832). pp. 1677-1700. ISSN 1364-503X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2005.1601
The region of sea ice near the edge of the sea ice pack is known as the marginal ice zone (MIZ), and its dynamics are complicated by ocean wave interaction with the ice cover, strong gradients in the atmosphere and ocean and variations in sea ice rheology. This paper focuses on the role of sea ice rheology in determining the dynamics of the MIZ. Here, sea ice is treated as a granular material with a composite rheology describing collisional ice floe interaction and plastic interaction. The collisional component of sea ice rheology depends upon the granular temperature, a measure of the kinetic energy of flow fluctuations. A simplified model of the MIZ is introduced consisting of the along and across momentum balance of the sea ice and the balance equation of fluctuation kinetic energy. The steady solution of these equations is found to leading order using elementary methods. This reveals a concentrated region of rapid ice flow parallel to the ice edge, which is in accordance with field observations, and previously called the ice jet. Previous explanations of the ice jet relied upon the existence of ocean currents beneath the ice cover. We show that an ice jet results as a natural consequence of the granular nature of sea ice.