Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-289
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-289

  08 Nov 2021

08 Nov 2021

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

Determining an optimal transport velocity in the marginal ice zone using operational ice-ocean prediction systems

Graig Sutherland1, Victor Aguiar2,3, Lars-Robert Hole2, Jean Rabault4,5, Mohammed Dabboor1, and Øyvind Breivik2,6 Graig Sutherland et al.
  • 1Environmental Numerical Prediction Research, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Dorval, QC, Canada
  • 2Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Bergen, Norway
  • 3Department of Physics and Technology, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  • 4Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 5Department of Mathematics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 6Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. Knowledge of transport in the marginal ice zone (MIZ) is critical for operations in the Arctic and associated emergency response applications, for example, the transport of pollutants, such as oil, as well as predicting drift associated with search and rescue operations. This paper proposes a general transport equation for the MIZ that can be used for operational purposes in the MIZ. This equation is designed to use a mean velocity of the ice and water velocity, which is weighted by the ice concentration. A key component is the introduction of a leeway coefficient for both the ocean and ice components. These leeway coefficients are determined by minimizing the velocity error between the transport model and observed drifter velocity in the MIZ. These leeway values are found to be 3 % of the wind for the water leeway and 2 % and 30° to the right of the wind for the ice leeway, which are consistent with "rule of thumb" values for surface drifters and sea ice respectively. This general transport model is compared with other transport models and the error is reduced by a factor of 2 compared with traditional transport models for 48 hour lead times. The inclusion of a leeway coefficient in the ice is the key component to reduce trajectory errors in the MIZ.

Graig Sutherland et al.

Status: open (until 03 Jan 2022)

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Graig Sutherland et al.

Graig Sutherland et al.

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Short summary
The marginal ice zone (MIZ), which is the transition region between the open ocean and the dense pack ice, is a very dynamic region which can be difficult to predict and where emergency responses, such as search and rescue as well as marine pollutants, are likely to occur. Using novel drifters deployed in the MIZ, a general transport equation is developed that can be used with current state-of-the-art operational prediction systems to reduce the bias in the mean drift prediction.