20 Jul 2020
20 Jul 2020
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Large-eddy simulation of the ice shelf-ocean boundary layer and heterogeneous refreezing rate by sub-ice shelf plume

Ji Sung Na1, Taekyun Kim2, Emilia Kyung Jin1, Seung-Tae Yoon1, Won Sang Lee1, Sukyoung Yun1, and Jiyeon Lee1 Ji Sung Na et al.
  • 1Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon, 21990, South Korea
  • 2Jeju National University, Jeju, 63243, South Korea

Abstract. The role of the refreezing effect in the ice shelf–ocean boundary layer (IOBL) flow with a super-cooled, plume beneath the ice shelf is investigated using the large-eddy simulation. To reveal the detailed physical processes and characteristics of the IOBL flow, a model domain is initialized and forced by in situ observations and a comparison is made between two simulations, one with the refreezing effect and one without. The simulated velocity, potential temperature, and salinity field are validated with in situ observations performed in Terra Nova Bay in the western Ross Sea in 2016/2017, confirming that the vertical structures in the simulation results agree well with observations. In particular, it is evident that, when the refreezing effect is considered, the IOBL flow can be more realistically resolved, especially upward advection from the sub-ice shelf plume and the ice front eddy. Beneath the ice shelf, two district regions (the inner and outer regions) are identified based on flow characteristics and the refreezing pattern. In the inner region, stratification and stable conditions are observed with negative momentum flux and low refreezing rates. Meanwhile, in the outer region, high shear impact and unstable conditions with a heat flux of −9 to −52 W m−2 are observed, demonstrating the high refreezing rate and the entrainment of super-cooled water from the sub-ice shelf plume. A total of 94 % of the refreezing events occur in the outer region, with a maximum refreezing rate of 1.86 m yr−1 at the ice front.

Ji Sung Na et al.

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Ji Sung Na et al.

Ji Sung Na et al.


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Short summary
Under the ice shelf, there is a super-cooled water plume that can refreeze. To predict ice mass change, we have to investigate the flow physics of this water plume and its effect on refreezing. Our results obtained by validated simulation show that refreezing pattern is spatially heterogeneous because of different flow physics. In the inner region, this plume is stable and has few effects on refreezing. However, near the ice front, this plume is unstable and produces a high refreezing rate.