The Response of the Sea Ice Edge to Atmospheric and Oceanic Jet Formation

Harold D. B. S. Heorton Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Daniel L. Feltham Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom

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Julian C. R. Hunt Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University College London, London, United Kingdom

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Abstract

The sea ice edge presents a region of many feedback processes between the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice (Maslowski et al.). Here the authors focus on the impact of on-ice atmospheric and oceanic flows at the sea ice edge. Mesoscale jet formation due to the Coriolis effect is well understood over sharp changes in surface roughness such as coastlines (Hunt et al.). This sharp change in surface roughness is experienced by the atmosphere and ocean encountering a compacted sea ice edge. This paper presents a study of a dynamic sea ice edge responding to prescribed atmospheric and oceanic jet formation. An idealized analytical model of sea ice drift is developed and compared to a sea ice climate model [the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE)] run on an idealized domain. The response of the CICE model to jet formation is tested at various resolutions.

It is found that the formation of atmospheric jets at the sea ice edge increases the wind speed parallel to the sea ice edge and results in the formation of a sea ice drift jet in agreement with an observed sea ice drift jet (Johannessen et al.). The increase in ice drift speed is dependent upon the angle between the ice edge and wind and results in up to a 40% increase in ice transport along the sea ice edge. The possibility of oceanic jet formation and the resultant effect upon the sea ice edge is less conclusive. Observations and climate model data of the polar oceans have been analyzed to show areas of likely atmospheric jet formation, with the Fram Strait being of particular interest.

Corresponding author address: Harold D. B. S. Heorton, Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, P.O. Box 243, Reading, RG6 6BB, United Kingdom. E-mail: h.heorton@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

The sea ice edge presents a region of many feedback processes between the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice (Maslowski et al.). Here the authors focus on the impact of on-ice atmospheric and oceanic flows at the sea ice edge. Mesoscale jet formation due to the Coriolis effect is well understood over sharp changes in surface roughness such as coastlines (Hunt et al.). This sharp change in surface roughness is experienced by the atmosphere and ocean encountering a compacted sea ice edge. This paper presents a study of a dynamic sea ice edge responding to prescribed atmospheric and oceanic jet formation. An idealized analytical model of sea ice drift is developed and compared to a sea ice climate model [the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE)] run on an idealized domain. The response of the CICE model to jet formation is tested at various resolutions.

It is found that the formation of atmospheric jets at the sea ice edge increases the wind speed parallel to the sea ice edge and results in the formation of a sea ice drift jet in agreement with an observed sea ice drift jet (Johannessen et al.). The increase in ice drift speed is dependent upon the angle between the ice edge and wind and results in up to a 40% increase in ice transport along the sea ice edge. The possibility of oceanic jet formation and the resultant effect upon the sea ice edge is less conclusive. Observations and climate model data of the polar oceans have been analyzed to show areas of likely atmospheric jet formation, with the Fram Strait being of particular interest.

Corresponding author address: Harold D. B. S. Heorton, Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, P.O. Box 243, Reading, RG6 6BB, United Kingdom. E-mail: h.heorton@reading.ac.uk
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