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The effect of dynamic-thermodynamic icebergs on the Southern Ocean climate in a three-dimensional model
Jongma, J.I.; Driesschaert, E.; Fichefet, T.; Goosse, H.; Renssen, H. (2009). The effect of dynamic-thermodynamic icebergs on the Southern Ocean climate in a three-dimensional model. Ocean Modelling 26(1-2): 104-113.
In: Ocean Modelling. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 1463-5003; e-ISSN 1463-5011, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 231418 [ OMA ]

Author keywords
    Climate; Model; Icebergs; Meltwater; Southern Ocean; Convection; Sea-ice

Authors  Top 
  • Jongma, J.I.
  • Driesschaert, E., more
  • Fichefet, T., more
  • Goosse, H., more
  • Renssen, H.

    Melting icebergs are a mobile source of fresh water as well as a sink of latent heat. In most global climate models, the spatio-temporal redistribution of fresh water and latent heat fluxes related to icebergs is parameterized by an instantaneous more or less arbitrary flux distribution over some parts of the oceans. It is uncertain if such a parameterization provides a realistic representation of the role of icebergs in the coupled climate system. However, icebergs could have a significant climate role, in particular during past abrupt climate change events which have been associated with armada's of icebergs. We therefore present the interactive coupling of a global climate model to a dynamic thermodynamic iceberg model, leading to a more plausible spatio-temporal redistribution of fresh water and heat fluxes. We show first that our model is able to reproduce a reasonable iceberg distribution in both hemispheres when compared to recent data. Second, in a series of sensitivity experiments we explore cooling and freshening effects of dynamical icebergs on the upper Southern Ocean and we compare these dynamic iceberg results to the effects of an equivalent parameterized iceberg flux.
    In our model without interactive icebergs, the parameterized fluxes are distributed homogeneously South of 55°S, whereas dynamic icebergs are found to be concentrated closer to shore except for a plume of icebergs floating North-East from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Compared to homogeneous fluxes, the dynamic icebergs lead to a 10% greater net production of Antarctic bottom water (AABW). This increased bottom water production involves open ocean convection, which is enhanced by a less efficient stratification of the ocean when comparing to a homogeneous flux distribution.
    Icebergs facilitate the formation of sea-ice. In the sensitivity experiments, both the fresh water and the cooling flux lead to a significant increase in sea-ice area of 12% and 6%, respectively, directly affecting the highly coupled and interactive air/sea/ice system. The consequences are most pronounced along the sea-ice edge, where this sea-ice facilitation has the greatest potential to affect ocean stratification, for example by heat insulation and wind shielding, which further amplifies the cooling and freshening of the surface waters.

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