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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Jul 2020

24 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Experimental evidence for a universal threshold characterizing wave-induced sea ice break-up

Joey Voermans1, Jean Rabault2,3, Kirill Filchuk4, Ivan Ryzhov4, Petra Heil5, Aleksey Marchenko6, Clarence Collins7, Mohammed Dabboor8, Graig Sutherland9, and Alexander Babanin1,10 Joey Voermans et al.
  • 1Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
  • 2Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 3Department of Mathematics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 4Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
  • 5Australian Antarctic Division and Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • 6The University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway
  • 7Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kitty Hawk, USA
  • 8Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, Canada
  • 9Environmental Numerical Prediction Research, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, Canada
  • 10Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical Modeling, National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology,Qingdao, China

Abstract. Waves can drastically transform a sea ice cover by inducing break-up over vast distances in the course of a few hours. However, relatively few detailed studies have described this phenomenon in a quantitative manner, and the process of sea ice break-up by waves needs to be further parameterized and verified before it can be reliably included in forecasting models. In the present work, we discuss sea ice break-up parameterization and demonstrate the existence of an observational threshold separating breaking and non-breaking cases. This threshold is based on information from two recent field campaigns, supplemented with existing observations of sea ice break-up. The data used cover a wide range of scales, from laboratory-grown sea ice to polar field observations. Remarkably, we show that both field and laboratory observations tend to converge to a single quantitative threshold at which the wave-induced sea ice break-up takes place, which opens a promising avenue for robust parametrization in operational forecasting models.

Joey Voermans et al.

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Joey Voermans et al.

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