Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-242
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-242

  01 Sep 2021

01 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Ice-shelf ocean boundary layer dynamics from large-eddy simulations

Carolyn Branecky Begeman, Xylar Asay-Davis, and Luke Van Roekel Carolyn Branecky Begeman et al.
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA 87545

Abstract. Small scale, turbulent flow below ice shelves is regionally isolated and difficult to measure and simulate. Yet these small scale processes, which regulate heat transfer between the ocean and ice shelves, can affect sea-level rise by altering the ability of Antarctic ice shelves to “buttress” ice flux to the ocean. In this study, we improve our understanding of turbulence below ice shelves by means of large-eddy simulations at sub-meter resolution, capturing boundary layer mixing at scales intermediate between laboratory experiments or direct numerical simulations and regional or global ocean circulation models. Our simulations feature the development of an ice-shelf ocean boundary layer through dynamic ice melting in a regime with low thermal driving, low ice-shelf basal slope, and strong shear driven by the geostrophic flow. We present a preliminary assessment of existing ice-shelf basal melt parameterizations adopted in single component or coupled ice-sheet and ocean models on the basis of a small parameter study. While the parameterized linear relationship between ice-shelf melt rate and far-field ocean temperature appears to be robust, we point out a little-considered relationship between ice-shelf basal slope and melting worthy of further study.

Carolyn Branecky Begeman et al.

Status: open (until 27 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-242', Timofey Mukha, 02 Sep 2021 reply

Carolyn Branecky Begeman et al.

Carolyn Branecky Begeman et al.

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Short summary
This study uses ocean modeling at ultra-high resolution to study the small-scale ocean mixing that controls ice-shelf melting. It offers some insights into the relationship between ice-shelf melting and ocean temperature far from the ice base, which may help us project how fast ice will melt when ocean waters entering the cavity warm. This study adds to a growing body of research that indicates we need a more sophisticated treatment of ice-shelf melting in coarse-resolution ocean models.