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Quantifying polynya ice production in the Laptev Sea with the COSMO model

Author(s): Martin Bauer | David Schröder | Günther Heinemann | Sascha Willmes | Lars Ebner

Journal: Polar Research
ISSN 0800-0395

Volume: 00;
Issue: 00;
Start page: 000;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Mesoscale modelling | Laptev Sea | polynya | ice production

Arctic flaw polynyas are considered to be highly productive areas for the formation of sea-ice throughout the winter season. Most estimates of sea-ice production are based on the surface energy balance equation and use global re-analyses as atmospheric forcing, which are too coarse to take into account the impact of polynyas on the atmosphere. Additional errors in the estimates of polynya ice production may result from the methods of calculating atmospheric energy fluxes and the assumption of a thin-ice distribution within polynyas. The present study uses simulations using the mesoscale weather prediction model of the Consortium for Small-scale Modelling (COSMO), where polynya area is prescribed from satellite data. The polynya area is either assumed to be ice-free or to be covered with thin ice of 10 cm. Simulations have been performed for two winter periods (2007/08 and 2008/09). When using a realistic thin-ice thickness of 10 cm, sea-ice production in Laptev polynyas amount to 30 km3 and 73 km3 for the winters 2007/08 and 2008/09, respectively. The higher turbulent energy fluxes of open-water polynyas result in a 50–70% increase in sea-ice production (49 km3 in 2007/08 and 123 km3 in 2008/09). Our results suggest that previous studies have overestimated ice production in the Laptev Sea.
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