Forecasting Bering Sea ice edge behavior
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A coupled ice/ocean dynamics model is developed to provide Arctic offshore operators with 5- to 7-day forecasts of ice motions, ice conditions, and ice edge motions. An adaptive grid is introduced to follow the ice edge, and the grid may move independently of the ice motion. The grid can be Lagrangian or Eulerian at different locations away from the ice edge. Ice stress is described using an elastic-plastic model with strength determined by the ice conditions. The ocean dynamics model describes time-dependent, three-dimensional behavior, including wind-driven currents and barotropic and baroclinic flows. The thermal energy budget of the ice cover is coupled to the ocean, with mass and salt interchange accompanying freezing or melting. Near the marginal ice zone (MIZ), surface winds (determined by reducing and turning the geostrophic winds) are enhanced to reflect observed behavior. The model was tested by simulating ice edge motions observed during the 1983 Marginal Ice Zone Experiment-West and during drilling of the 1983 north Aleutian shelf Continental Offshore Stratigraphic Test well. Simulations of ice edge movement in the Bering Sea compare with observed data to within about 5 km/d. The model correctly describes mixed-layer evolution in the marginal ice zone as fresh meltwater is mixed downward by turbulence. Along-edge baroclinic flows due to density gradients across the ice edge are simulated by the model, in agreement with observations. Increased ice drift speeds generate higher melt rates due to increased turbulence levels, with the result that ice edge advance is moderated in spite of higher ice drift speeds.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/JC095iC01p00775
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