Numerical modelling of the Storfjorden (Svalbard) polynya development due to wind stress: role of the sea ice rheology and damping forces
AbstractRemote sensing of the ice cover in Storfjorden (Svalbard) revealed the persistence and evolution of latent heat polynyas during the winter of 1997/98. Latent heat polynyas open mechanically under wind stress or ocean currents that transport the ice cover away. In the present work we used mathematical modelling to simulate the Storfjorden polynya size and geometry caused by wind stress, measured at the meteorological station on the island of Hopen in winter 1997/98. The dependence of the polynya outlines on the wind velocity is presented. Two approaches were used: quasi-static and dynamic. Quasi-static simulations are based on a time-independent, linear ice stress-strain relationship valid for the low strain rates only. Time dependence of the ice cover fracture is joined with stress-strain nonlinearity caused by ice delayed-elastic recovery and viscosity. Results are compared to satellite observations from the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) of ERS-2. The simulation results show that a northern wind opens a larger polynya (ca. 30%) than does a north-eastern wind with the same speed. The results also indicate that the bathymetry and geometry of the fjord might have a stronger influence on the polynya opening and development than the location of individual islands and reefs.
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