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Spatial heterogeneity of ocean surface boundary conditions under sea ice
Barthélemy, A.; Fichefet, T.; Goosse, H. (2016). Spatial heterogeneity of ocean surface boundary conditions under sea ice. Ocean Modelling 102: 82-98.
In: Ocean Modelling. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 1463-5003; e-ISSN 1463-5011, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Model; Ocean surface boundary conditions; Ice thickness distribution;Arctic; Antarctic

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    The high heterogeneity of sea ice properties implies that its effects on the ocean are spatially variable at horizontal scales as small as a few meters. Previous studies have shown that taking this variability into account in models could be required to simulate adequately mixed layer processes and the upper ocean temperature and salinity structures. Although many advanced sea ice models include a subgrid-scale ice thickness distribution, potentially providing heterogeneous surface boundary conditions, the information is lost in the coupling with a unique ocean grid cell underneath. The present paper provides a thorough examination of boundary conditions at the ocean surface in the NEMO-LIM model, which can be used as a guideline for studies implementing subgrid-scale ocean vertical mixing schemes. Freshwater, salt, solar heat and non-solar heat fluxes are examined, as well as the norm of the surface stress. All of the thermohaline fluxes vary considerably between the open water and ice fractions of grid cells. To a lesser extent, this is also the case for the surface stress. Moreover, the salt fluxes in both hemispheres and the solar heat fluxes in the Arctic show a dependence on the ice thickness category, with more intense fluxes for thinner ice, which promotes further subgrid-scale heterogeneity. Our analysis also points out biases in the simulated open water fraction and in the ice thickness distribution, which should be investigated in more details in order to ensure that the latter is used to the best advantage.

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