Modelling sea ice and melt ponds evolution: sensitivity to microscale heat transfer mechanisms

A. Scagliarini, E. Calzavarini, Daniela Mansutti, F. Toschi

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Abstract

We present a mathematical model describing the evolution of sea ice and meltwater during summer. The system is described by two coupled partial differential equations for the ice thickness h and pond depth w fields. We test the sensitivity of the model to variations of parameters controlling fluid-dynamic processes at the pond level, namely the variation of turbulent heat flux with pond depth and the lateral melting of ice enclosing a pond. We observe that different heat flux scalings determine different rates of total surface ablations, while the system is relatively robust for what concerns the statistical distributions of pond surface areas, which are extracted by means of cluster analysis. Finally, we study pond morphology in terms of fractal dimensions, showing that the role of lateral melting is minor, whereas there is evidence of an impact from the initial sea ice topography.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1809.06924
Number of pages19
JournalarXiv
Volume2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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