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The Treatment of Shortwave Radiation and Open Water in Large-Scale Models of Sea-Ice Decay

  • Donald K. Perovich (a1) and Gary A. Maykut (a2)

Abstract

Sea ice covering the polar oceans is only a thin veneer whose areal extent can undergo large and rapid variations in response to relatively small changes in thermal forcing. Positive feedback between variations in ice extent and global albedo has the potential to amplify small changes in climate. Particularly difficult to model is the summer decay and retreat of the ice pack which is strongly influenced by shortwave radiation entering the upper ocean through leads (I w). Most models assume that all of this energy is expended in lateral melting at floe edges. In reality, only a portion of I w contributes directly to lateral melting, with the remainder going to bottom ablation and warming of the water. This partitioning of I w affects not only the magnitude, but also the character of the predicted ice decay, reducing the change in ice concentration and enhancing the thinning of the ice and the storage of heat in the water. In this paper we present an analytical model which includes many of these processes and is stable regardless of time step, making it suitable for use in climate simulations.

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Copyright

References

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