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

Voermans, Joey J.; Rabault, Jean; Filchuk, Kirill; Ryzhov, Ivan; Heil, Petra; Marchenko, Aleksey; Collins III, Clarence O.; Dabboor, Mohammed; Sutherland, Graig; Babanin, Alexander V.

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.



Voermans, Joey J. / Rabault, Jean / Filchuk, Kirill / et al: Experimental evidence for a universal threshold characterizing wave-induced sea ice break-up. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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