Real-time forecasts of the sea-ice in the Fram Strait

A high resolution model of Fram Strait (3.5 km) has been recently developed and is now running in a 3-day forecast mode since 14 August 2009. The model simulations provides forecasts of the ice edge locations, sea ice concentrations, ice velocity and ice thickness.

Open boundary conditions are provided by the TOPAZ3 model and atmospheric forcing by ECMWF. The main purpose of this effort, supported by TOTAL E&P, is to test and validate a sea ice dynamical model which include a parameterization of the particular dynamics of the marginal ice zone (MIZ). In this area located within 5-100 km from the ice edge, the sea ice cover behaves like a collisional granular material where the individual floe velocity fluctuates making them colliding with each other. This results in a significant decrease of the viscosity and a consequent increase in drift speed near the ice edge.

The elastic-viscous-plastic (EVP) model, widely used in climate studies, is still used in the central ice pack of the Arctic, where sea ice is modeled as a slowly deforming plastic continuum. The forecasts exhibit the transport of ice by mesoscale ocean eddies. The automatic forecast mode will facilitate the validation of the MIZ model against satellite data in real-time.

Dany Dumont, Knut Arild Lisæter, Laurent Bertino.

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