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Influence of mass diffusion in sea ice dynamical models

Wilchinsky, A. V. and Feltham, D. L. (2004) Influence of mass diffusion in sea ice dynamical models. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 34 (6). pp. 1468-1475. ISSN 0022-3670

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/1520-0485(2004)034<1468:IOMDIS>2.0.CO;2


The mixing of floes of different thickness caused by repeated deformation of the ice cover is modeled as diffusion, and the mass balance equation for sea ice accounting for mass diffusion is developed. The effect of deformational diffusion on the ice thickness balance is shown to reach 1% of the divergence effect, which describes ridging and lead formation. This means that with the same accuracy the mass balance equation can be written in terms of mean velocity rather than mean mass-weighted velocity, which one should correctly use for a multicomponent fluid such as sea ice with components identified by floe thickness. Mixing (diffusion) of sea ice also occurs because of turbulent variations in wind and ocean drags that are unresolved in models. Estimates of the importance of turbulent mass diffusion on the dynamic redistribution of ice thickness are determined using empirical data for the turbulent diffusivity. For long-time-scale prediction (≫5 days), where unresolved atmospheric motion may have a length scale on the order of the Arctic basin and the time scale is larger than the synoptic time scale of atmospheric events, turbulent mass diffusion can exceed 10% of the divergence effect. However, for short-time-scale prediction, for example, 5 days, the unresolved scales are on the order of 100 km, and turbulent diffusion is about 0.1% of the divergence effect. Because inertial effects are small in the dynamics of the sea ice pack, diffusive momentum transfer can be disregarded.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:35293
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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