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