03 Jan 2023
03 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Using Icepack to reproduce Ice Mass Balance buoy observations in landfast ice: improvements from the mushy layer thermodynamics

Mathieu Plante1, Jean-François Lemieux1, L. Bruno Tremblay2, Adrienne Tivy3, Joey Angnatok4, François Roy1, Gregory Smith1, and Frédéric Dupont5 Mathieu Plante et al.
  • 1Recherche en prévision numérique environnementale, Environnement et Changement Climatique Canada, Dorval, Québec, Canada
  • 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • 3Canadian Ice Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 4Nunatsiavut Research Center, Nain, Labrador, Canada
  • 5Service Météorologique Canadien, Environnement et Changement Climatique Canada, Dorval, Québec, Canada

Abstract. The column thermodynamics package (Icepack v1.1.0) of the Community Ice Code (CICE) version 6 is used to reproduce observations from two Ice Mass Balance (IMB) buoys co-deployed in the landfast ice close to Nain (Labrador) in February 2017. A new automated surface retrieval algorithm is used to determine the ice thickness and snow depths from the measured vertical temperature profiles. The buoys recorded heavy snow precipitation over relatively thin ice, negative ice freeboards and delayed snow flooding. Icepack simulations are produced to evaluate the performance of the Bitz and Lipscomb (1999) thermodynamics used in the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) ice-ocean systems and to investigate the improvements associated with the use of mushy layer physics. Results show that the Bitz and Lipscomb (1999) scheme produces a smooth thermodynamics growth that fails to capture the observed variability in bottom sea ice congelation rates. The mushy layer physics produces similar temperature profiles but better captures the variability in congelation rates at the ice bottom interface, with periods of rapid ice growth that coincide with IMB observations. Large differences are also found associated with the snow-ice parameterization: the volume of snow-ice formed during flooding is largely underestimated when using a mass conserving snow-formation scheme, but largely improved when using the mushy layer parameterization in which sea-water is filling the porosity of the snow layer. Both schemes are however unable to reproduce the delayed snow-ice formation, as they rely on the hydrostatic balance and do not allow for negative freeboards. This calls for added brine fraction or ice porosity dependencies in the snow-ice parameterizations.

Mathieu Plante et al.

Status: open (until 28 Feb 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-266', Anonymous Referee #1, 26 Jan 2023 reply

Mathieu Plante et al.

Mathieu Plante et al.


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Short summary
We use a sea ice model to reproduce ice growth observations from two buoys deployed on coastal sea ice, and analyse the improvements brought by new physics that represent the presence of saline liquid water in the ice interior. We find that the new physics better represent periods of rapid ice growth at the ice bottom and the flooding of the snow layer on the top of the ice. The simulated onset of snow flooding however occurs too early since the effect of sea ice porosity is neglected.