A new modeling framework for sea-ice mechanics based on elasto-brittle rheology
Abstract:We present a new modeling framework for sea-ice mechanics based on elasto-brittle (EB) behavior. The EB framework considers sea ice as a continuous elastic plate encountering progressive damage, simulating the opening of cracks and leads. As a result of long-range elastic interactions, the stress relaxation following a damage event can induce an avalanche of damage. Damage propagates in narrow linear features, resulting in a very heterogeneous strain field. Idealized simulations of the Arctic sea-ice cover are analyzed in terms of ice strain rates and contrasted to observations and simulations performed with the classical viscous–plastic (VP) rheology. The statistical and scaling properties of ice strain rates are used as the evaluation metric. We show that EB simulations give a good representation of the shear faulting mechanism that accommodates most sea-ice deformation. The distributions of strain rates and the scaling laws of ice deformation are well captured by the EB framework, which is not the case for VP simulations. These results suggest that the properties of ice deformation emerge from elasto-brittle ice-mechanical behavior and motivate the implementation of the EB framework in a global sea-ice model.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2011
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