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Atmospheric drag coefficients of Weddell Sea ice computed from roughness profiles

  • R. Fisher (a1) and Victoria I. Lytle (a2)

Abstract

Sea ice is a highly mobile component of the Antarctic environment. Its velocity and deformation are critical processes, important in global climate models. These variables are determined by the balance of atmospheric and oceanic forces on each ice Hoe and variations in these forcings, and can produce regions ofdivcrgence or convergence. Surface drag coefficients relate the forces due to wind or water to the stress applied to the ice floe. This study adds to the limited drag coefficients reported previously for Antarctic data.

Surface elevation profiles were collected during two ship-based voyages to the Weddell Sea in 1992 and 1994, and were also recorded on Ice Station Weddell in 1992. These data are used to derive surface drag coefficients using an empirical formulation following Banke and others (1980). The eastern and western regions of the Weddell Sea contain primarily first- and second-year ice, respectively. Despite these different ice types, the drag coefficients calculated are similar. The difieren! ice-drifl/wind-speed ratio in the two regions suggests a difference in ocean currents, internal ice stress or water drag. The drag coefficients calculated ranged between 1.2 X 10 −3 and 2.2 X 10 −3 The results compare well with other published Antarctic coefficients, and are generally smaller than those reported for the Arctic.

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References

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