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Title: Numerical modelling of landfast sea ice
Author: Carson, Nuala
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 059X
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2014
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Landfast sea ice is a recurring seasonal feature along many coastlines in the polar regions. It is characterised by a lack of horizontal motion, for at least 20 days, and its attachment to the coast or seabed. It can form as a result of restrictive geometry, such as channels or embayments, or through the grounding of thick ice ridges which add lateral stability to the ice cover. Due to its stationary and persistent nature, landfast ice fundamentally modifies the exchange of heat and momentum between the atmosphere and ocean, compared with more mobile pack ice. The current generation of sea ice models is not capable of reproducing certain aspects of landfast ice formation and breakup. In this work two landfast ice parameterisations were developed, which describe the formation and breakup of landfast ice through the grounding of thick ice ridges. The parameterisations assume the sub-grid scale distribution of ice draft and ocean depth, the two parameters important in determining the occurrence of grounded ridges. The sub-grid scale distribution of grounded ice is firstly defined by assuming that ice draft and ocean depth are independent. This parameterisation allowed ice of any thickness to occur and ground at any depth. Advancing from this the sub-grid scale distribution of the grounded ice was restricted in an effort to make it more realistic. Based on Arctic ice scour observations ice was prevented from grounding in regions where the draft thickness was much larger than the ocean depth. Both parameterisations were incorporated into a commonly used sea ice model, the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE), to which a multi-category ocean depth distribution from high resolution global bathymetry data (ETOPO1) was included. The parameterisations were tested in global standalone format (i.e. no active ocean) with realistic atmospheric forcing. Both parameterisations were found to improve the spatial distribution and the seasonal cycle of landfast ice compared to the control (i.e. no landfast ice parameterisation) in the Arctic and Antarctic. However, the grounded ridges produced by the parameterisations were very stable, and tended to become multiyear leading to the production of multiyear landfast ice, which was particularly widespread in the Antarctic. It was found that tides have a significant impact on both grounded and landfast ice. In some polar locations tides were found to increase the occurrence of landfast ice, by increasing the production of thick ridges which were able to ground. Conversely, in some regions, tides were found to decrease the occurrence of landfast ice, as strong tidal and residual currents increased the mobility of the grounded ridges and landfast ice. This thesis finishes by considering whether a sea ice model could be used to further our understanding of the physical landfast ice system. Analytically derived characteristic numbers, which describe the ability of landfast ice to form, were found to fully describe the formation of landfast ice within the sea ice model CICE during idealised 1D scenarios. For these scenarios the key parameters controlling ice motion were found to be the external forcing component, the width of the ice cover, the internal ice strength, and the thickness of the ice. However, an exact characteristic variable able to describe the occurrence of landfast ice in an idealised 2D scenario could not be found analytically, nor could it be inferred numerically, and this remains an area for further research. This thesis examines different methods of modelling landfast sea ice and provides the sea ice modelling community with a means to parametrise landfast ice formation as a result of grounded ridges without having to work at very fine resolution, as this is computationally inefficient.
Supervisor: Morales Maqueda, Miguel Ángel; Leach, Harry; Postlethwaite, Clare Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GC Oceanography