This study is on high-frequency temporal variability (HFV) and meso-scale spatial variability (MSV) of winter sea-ice drift in the Southern Ocean simulated with a global high-resolution (0.1°) sea ice-ocean model. Hourly model output is used to distinguish MSV characteristics via patterns of mean kinetic energy (MKE) and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) of ice drift, surface currents, and wind stress, and HFV characteristics via time series of raw variables and correlations. We find that (1) along the ice edge, the MSV of ice drift coincides with that of surface currents, in particular such due to ocean eddies; (2) along the coast, the MKE of ice drift is substantially larger than its TKE and coincides with the MKE of wind stress; (3) in the interior of the ice pack, the TKE of ice drift is larger than its MKE, mostly following the TKE pattern of wind stress; (4) the HFV of ice drift is dominated by weather events, and, in the absence of tidal currents, locally and to a much smaller degree by inertial oscillations; (5) along the ice edge, the curl of the ice drift is highly correlated with that of surface currents, mostly reflecting the impact of ocean eddies. Where ocean eddies occur and the ice is relatively thin, ice velocity is characterized by enhanced relative vorticity, largely matching that of surface currents. Along the ice edge, ocean eddies produce distinct ice filaments, the realism of which is largely confirmed by high-resolution satellite passive-microwave data.
Ocean Dynamics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 17, 2018
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