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How a region of cracked sea ice affects ice-coupled wave propagation

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By deriving the appropriate Green's function, a model is developed that allows the interaction of normally-incident, ice-coupled waves with any number of cracks to be studied analytically. For a single crack a simple formula for the reflection and trans-mission coefficients, R and T, emerges that yields identical results to the computationally intensive work of Barrett and Squire (1996) but is much easier to apply. A crack is found to behave as a steep low-pass filter, allowing long waves through while inhibiting shorter waves, although there is also some fine structure to the response curve. The introduction of more cracks is straightforward. While in that case a formula for R and T is also possible in principle, it is easier to express the result as the solution of a simple matrix equation of order 2N, where N is the number of cracks. It is found that perfect transmission (|R| = 0) occurs at a set of discrete periods, hereinafter called a comb, for N > 1 and that the comb becomes finer as period decreases. For both periodically distributed cracks and ones that are randomly spaced, the gross shape of the response curve remains similar. The results suggest that it is improbable that waves travelling through the Arctic basin can be used as a remote-sensing agent to determine mean ice thickness. The Green's function technique employed in this paper furnishes solutions to other problems of interest.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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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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