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Title: Modelling the sea ice thickness distribution in the Greenland Sea
Author: Huddleston, M. R.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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Following a detailed review of the history and theory of sea ice modelling in the Arctic, a further review is made of previous analysis of the ice thickness distribution. In addition to this, ten new or partially cited upward looking sonar ice draft datasets derived from moored buoys and submarine profiles have been used to provide a detailed set of statistics for comparison with modelled ice thickness distribution functions in the Greenland Sea. The moored sonar buoys datasets are from the period 1991-1994 and the submarine datasets are from the spring seasons of 1987 and 1991. Suitable atmospheric and oceanic forcing fields for 1991-94 have been derived from UK Meteorological Office unified model simulations and analysis and verified for a sea ice model of the Arctic Ocean and Greenland Seas. The model represents the sea ice thickness distribution using 28 levels of ice after Flato and Hibler [1995]. The use of synoptic daily varying winds is shown to create coastal polynyas and the application of spatially and temporally varying precipitation fall generated a realistic snow cover. An extensive comparison of modelled and observed ice thickness distributions is presented for the Greenland Sea. Ice fluxes for Fram Strait have been produced using a variety of methods using data from moored upward looking sonar thickness distributions, SSM/I ice concentrations and International Arctic Buoy Programme derived drift data. Results show that it is important to include the variation in the thickness and velocity fields both spatially and temporally across Fram Strait in the calculation of ice fluxes. The modelled variation in the velocities, thickness distributions and the ice fluxes in Fram Strait compare well with the observations although the absolute value of the fluxes are too low due to excessive winter oceanic heat fluxes. When the observed fluxes were used in a boundary-forced Greenland Sea regional model, it was shown that the mechanisms that preferentially melt ridged ice types not present in the model but the decay of the mean thickness of the ice downstream can be represented. Overall, the model results emphasise the need for further work on dynamic-thermodynamic coupling in ice models to resolve these processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available