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An efficient adjustable-layering thermodynamic sea-ice model formulation for high-frequency forcing

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Recent observations suggest that high-frequency forcing events have profound influence on the air–sea–ice interactions in the polar region. Studying these events with sea-ice models requires close examination of the model sensitivity that may arise from the high-frequency variability of the forcing. We show that the maximum layer thickness is dictated by the time-scale of the forcing variability, and that the computation of the surface temperature develops enhanced sensitivity at high-frequency forcing. We resolve these constraints by developing an "adjustable-layering" thermodynamic formulation for ice and snow that re-computes the number of layers required each time-step to satisfy this maximum thickness, which preserves the total enthalpy and general internal thermal gradients. The conservation equations form a tri-diagonal system ideal for a fast and efficient implicit solution. Furthermore, we resolve the issue of the high sensitivity of the surface flux balance by solving the linearized version of the flux boundary condition simultaneously with the overall conservation system. In this paper we develop the analyses specifying the model requirements, describe the model system and test its algorithmic implementation.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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