An ice-thickness distribution model based on physical ice classes is formulated. Pack ice is subdivided into open water, two different types of undeformed ice, and rafted, rubble and ridged ice. Evolution equations for each ice class are formulated and a redistribution between the ice classes is calculated according to a functional form depending on the ice compactness, thickness and velocity divergence. The ice-thickness distribution model has been included in a coupled ice–ocean model, and numerical experiments have been carried out for a simulation of the Baltic Sea ice season. The extended ice classification allows separation of thermally and mechanically produced ice. Inherent thermodynamic growth/melting rates of the ice classes can be introduced into the model, giving a more detailed seasonal evolution of the pack ice. In addition, the model provides more information about the surface properties of pack ice.
Numerical experiments for the Baltic Sea show that both the sub-basin and inter-basin ice characteristics were realistically simulated by the model. Deformed-ice production was related to storm activity. Most of the deformation was produced in the coastal zone, which is also an important region for thermodynamically produced ice because of the ice growth in leads. The modelled mechanical growth rates of ice were 0.5–3 cm d−1 on a basin scale, close to the thermodynamic ice-production rates. The deformed-ice fraction was 0.2 in mid-winter and increased to 0.5–1.0 during spring.