Processes driving sea ice variability in the Bering Sea in an eddying ocean/sea ice model: Mean seasonal cycle

Citation:
Li, L, McClean JL, Miller AJ, Eisenman I, Hendershott MC, Papadopoulos CA.  2014.  Processes driving sea ice variability in the Bering Sea in an eddying ocean/sea ice model: Mean seasonal cycle. Ocean Modelling. 84:51-66.

Date Published:

2014/12

Keywords:

bering sea, Climate dynamics, heat flux, Ice growth/melt, sea ice, Sea ice motion

Abstract:

The seasonal cycle of sea ice variability in the Bering Sea, together with the thermodynamic and dynamic processes that control it, are examined in a fine resolution (1/10°) global coupled ocean/sea-ice model configured in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) framework. The ocean/sea-ice model consists of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Parallel Ocean Program (POP) and the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE). The model was forced with time-varying reanalysis atmospheric forcing for the time period 1970–1989. This study focuses on the time period 1980–1989. The simulated seasonal-mean fields of sea ice concentration strongly resemble satellite-derived observations, as quantified by root-mean-square errors and pattern correlation coefficients. The sea ice energy budget reveals that the seasonal thermodynamic ice volume changes are dominated by the surface energy flux between the atmosphere and the ice in the northern region and by heat flux from the ocean to the ice along the southern ice edge, especially on the western side. The sea ice force balance analysis shows that sea ice motion is largely associated with wind stress. The force due to divergence of the internal ice stress tensor is large near the land boundaries in the north, and it is small in the central and southern ice-covered region. During winter, which dominates the annual mean, it is found that the simulated sea ice was mainly formed in the northern Bering Sea, with the maximum ice growth rate occurring along the coast due to cold air from northerly winds and ice motion away from the coast. South of St Lawrence Island, winds drive the model sea ice southwestward from the north to the southwestern part of the ice-covered region. Along the ice edge in the western Bering Sea, model sea ice is melted by warm ocean water, which is carried by the simulated Bering Slope Current flowing to the northwest, resulting in the S-shaped asymmetric ice edge. In spring and fall, similar thermodynamic and dynamic patterns occur in the model, but with typically smaller magnitudes and with season-specific geographical and directional differences.

Notes:

n/a

Website

DOI:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2014.09.006