Modelling Sea Ice and Melt Ponds Evolution: Sensitivity to Microscale Heat Transfer Mechanisms

Andrea Scagliarini, Enrico Calzavarini, Daniela Mansutti, Federico Toschi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


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 in terms of probability distributions of pond surface areas. 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
Title of host publicationMathematical Approach to Climate Change and its Impacts
EditorsP. Cannarsa
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-38669-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-38668-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameSpringer INdAM Series
ISSN (Print)2281-518X
ISSN (Electronic)2281-5198


  • Glaciology
  • Mathematical Modelling
  • Sea ice
  • Turbulent heat transfer


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