Modeling global sea ice with a thickness and enthalpy distribution model in generalized curvilinear coordinates

  • Zhang J
  • Rothrock D
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A parallel ocean and ice model (POIM) in generalized orthogonal curvilinear
coordinates has been developed for global climate studies. The POIM
couples the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) with a 12-category thickness
and enthalpy distribution (TED) sea ice model. Although the POIM
aims at modeling the global ocean and sea ice system, the focus of
this study is on the presentation, implementation, and evaluation
of the TED sea ice model in a generalized coordinate system. The
TED sea ice model is a dynamic thermodynamic model that also explicitly
simulates sea ice ridging. Using a viscous plastic rheology, the
TED model is formulated such that all the metric terms in generalized
curvilinear coordinates are retained. Following the POP's structure
for parallel computation, the TED model is designed to be run on
a variety of computer architectures: parallel, serial, or vector.
When run on a computer cluster with 10 parallel processors, the parallel
performance of the POIM is close to that of a corresponding POP ocean-only
model. Model results show that the POIM captures the major features
of sea ice motion, concentration, extent, and thickness in both polar
oceans. The results are in reasonably good agreement with buoy observations
of ice motion, satellite observations of ice extent, and submarine
observations of ice thickness. The model biases are within 8% in
Arctic ice motion, within 9% in Arctic ice thickness, and within
14% in ice extent in both hemispheres. The model captures 56% of
the variance of ice thickness along the 1993 submarine track in the
Arctic. The simulated ridged ice has various thicknesses, up to 20
m in the Arctic and 16 m in the Southern Ocean. Most of the simulated
ice is 1-3 m thick in the Arctic and 1-2 m thick in the Southern
Ocean. The results indicate that, in the Atlantic-Indian sector of
the Southern Ocean, the oceanic heating, mainly due to convective
mixing, can readily exceed the atmospheric cooling at the surface
in midwinter, thus forming a polynya. The results also indicate that
the West Spitzbergen Current is likely to bring considerable oceanic
heat (generated by lateral advection and vertical convection) to
the Odden ice area in the Greenland Sea, an important factor for
an often tongue-shaped ice concentration in that area.

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  • J L Zhang

  • D A Rothrock

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