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Modeling giant-iceberg drift under the influence of sea ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

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The drift trajectory of giant iceberg C-7 traversing the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, for >2 years was successfully simulated. Application of the "classical" driving forces like wind and ocean currents resulted in a significant discrepancy between modeled and observed iceberg velocities in the western Weddell Sea. The most realistic drift pattern in space and time was achieved by adding a sea-ice force which represents the ability of a dense sea-ice cover (≥90%) to lock in icebergs and collect the momentum of the wind over an area much larger than the area of the iceberg proper. This process was parameterized using a sea-ice strength P which depends on sea-ice concentration and thickness, both having highest values in winter and in the western Weddell Sea which is covered with multi-year sea ice. As a consequence of the sensitivity to sea ice, the timing of the iceberg drift becomes important, revealing the region off Brunt Ice Shelf (eastern Weddell Sea) as a location where bergs either continue westward with the coastal current or follow a southern branch onto the shallow continental shelf.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2001

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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