31 Aug 2023
 | 31 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

A large-scale high-resolution numerical model for sea-ice fragmentation dynamics

Jan Åström, Jari Haapala, and Arttu Polojärvi

Abstract. Sea ice motion and fragmentation forecasts are of vital importance for all human interaction with sea ice, ranging from indigenous hunters to shipping in polar regions. Sea ice models are also important for modelling long term changes in a warming climate. Here we apply a discrete element model (HiDEM), originally developed for glacier calving, to sea ice break-up and dynamics. The code is highly optimized to utilize high-end supercomputers to achieve extreme time and space resolution. Simulated fracture patterns and ice motion are compared to satellite images in the Kvarken region of the Baltic sea in March 2018. A second application is ice ridge formation in the Bay of Riga. With a few tens of graphics processing units (GPUs) the code is capable of reproducing observed ice patterns, that in nature may take a few days to form, over an area ∼ 100 km × 100 km, with an 8 m resolution, in computations lasting ∼ 10 hours. The simulations largely reproduce observed fracture patterns, ice motion, fast ice regions, floe size distributions, and ridge patterns. The similarities and differences between observed and computed ice dynamics and their relation to initial conditions, boundary conditions and applied driving forces are discussed in detail. The results reported here indicate that HiDEM has the potential to be developed into a high-resolution detailed model for sea ice dynamics over short time scales, which combined with large-scale and long-term continuum models may form an efficient framework for sea ice dynamics forecasts.

Jan Åström et al.

Status: open (until 01 Nov 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2023-97', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Sep 2023 reply

Jan Åström et al.

Jan Åström et al.


Total article views: 253 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
155 91 7 253 4 3
  • HTML: 155
  • PDF: 91
  • XML: 7
  • Total: 253
  • BibTeX: 4
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 31 Aug 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 31 Aug 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 239 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 239 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 28 Sep 2023
Short summary
The HiDEM code has been developed for fracture and fragmentation of brittle materials, and applied extensively to glacier calving. Here we report on the adaptaion of the code to sea ice dynamics and break up. The code demonstrate capability to simulate sea ice dynamics on the 100 km scale with unprecedented resolution. We argue that codes of this type may become useful for improving sea ice dynamics forecasts.