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The interplay of dynamic and thermodynamic processes in driving the ice-edge location in the Southern Ocean

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A stand-alone sea-ice model (CICE4) was used to investigate the physical processes affecting the ice-edge location. Particular attention is paid to the relative contributions of dynamic and thermodynamic processes in advancing the ice edge equatorward during ice growth. Results from 10 years of an 11 year numerical simulation have been verified against satellite observations from 1998 to 2007. The autumn advance of the sea-ice edge is primarily due to thermodynamic processes, with significant dynamic contributions limited to regions such as 60–70° E and 310–340° E. In the dynamically dominated regions, winds with a southerly component cause equatorward ice advection but also induce thermodynamic growth of new ice, which occurs well poleward of the 15% ice-concentration contour where air temperature is lowest. As the ice moves into warmer water it melts, hence extending equatorward the region with ocean mixed layer at freezing point. This accelerates the northward progression of the ice edge and permits thermodynamic ice growth as soon as the air temperature reaches below the ocean freezing point. In regions where thermodynamic processes are dominant (e.g. 340–40° E), maximum ice production occurs just poleward of the 15% ice-concentration contour, where thin sea ice is prevalent. In these longitude bands, autumn ice melt is generally absent at the ice edge due to ineffective equatorward ice advection.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

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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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