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The role of sea ice in the fresh-water budget of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

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A coupled sea-ice–ocean model of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, has been developed as part of the Bremerhaven Regional Ice–Ocean Simulations (BRIOS) project. It is based on the s-Coordinate Primitive Equation ocean Model (SPEM) and a dynamic–thermodynamic sea-ice model with viscous–plastic rheology which also provides the thermohaline forcing at the base of the Antarctic ice shelves. Model runs are forced with wind, cloudiness, temperature and precipitation fields of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts and U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction re-analyses. Model results show good agreement with observations of ice extent, thickness and drift. Water-mass properties and the large-scale circulation are in good agreement with observations. Fresh-water fluxes from sea-ice formation as well as from ice-shelf basal melting and from precipitation are computed and compiled to the fresh-water budget of the Weddell Sea. Supporting estimates based on hydrographic observations, model results indicate that fresh-water loss due to sea-ice formation and export (34 mSv) is roughly balanced by ice-shelf basal melting (9 mSv) and net precipitation (19 mSv). Furthermore, sea-ice formation appears to be a necessary condition for bottom-water production in the Weddell Sea.

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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