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Impact of cyclones on sea ice in the Fram Strait: numerical simulations and observations

Schroeder, D. (2005) Impact of cyclones on sea ice in the Fram Strait: numerical simulations and observations. PhD thesis, University of Hamburg

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The sea ice export from the Arctic is of global importance due to its fresh water which influences the oceanic stratification and, thus, the global thermohaline circulation. This study deals with the effect of cyclones on sea ice and sea ice transport in particular on the basis of observations from two field experiments FRAMZY 1999 and FRAMZY 2002 in April 1999 and March 2002 as well as on the basis of simulations with a numerical sea ice model. The simulations realised by a dynamic-thermodynamic sea ice model are forced with 6-hourly atmospheric ECMWF- analyses (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) and 6-hourly oceanic data of a MPI-OM-simulation (Max-Planck-Institute Ocean Model). Comparing the observed and simulated variability of the sea ice drift and of the position of the ice edge shows that the chosen configuration of the model is appropriate for the performed studies. The seven observed cyclones change the position of the ice edge up to 100 km and cause an extensive decrease of sea ice coverage by 2 % up to more than 10 %. The decrease is only simulated by the model if the ocean current is strongly divergent in the centre of the cyclone. The impact is remarkable of the ocean current on divergence and shear deformation of the ice drift. As shown by sensitivity studies the ocean current at a depth of 6 m – the sea ice model is forced with – is mainly responsible for the ascertained differences between simulation and observation. The simulated sea ice transport shows a strong variability on a time scale from hours to days. Local minima occur in the time series of the ice transport during periods with Fram Strait cyclones. These minima are not caused by the local effect of the cyclone’s wind field, but mainly by the large-scale pattern of surface pressure. A displacement of the areas of strongest cyclone activity in the Nordic Seas would considerably influence the ice transport.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Bruemmer, B.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Meteorology
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:55439

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