Modelling snow ice and superimposed ice on landfast sea ice in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard

  • Caixin Wang
  • Bin Cheng
  • Keguang Wang
  • Sebastian Gerland
  • Olga Pavlova
Keywords: Snow ice, superimposed ice, thermodynamic modelling, landfast sea ice, Kongsfjorden


Snow ice and superimposed ice formation on landfast sea ice in a Svalbard fjord, Kongsfjorden, was investigated with a high-resolution thermodynamic snow and sea-ice model, applying meteorological weather station data as external forcing. The model shows that sea-ice formation occurs both at the ice bottom and at the snow/ice interface. Modelling results indicated that the total snow ice and superimposed ice, which formed at the snow/ice interface, was about 14 cm during the simulation period, accounting for about 15% of the total ice mass and 35% of the total ice growth. Introducing a time-dependent snow density improved the modelled results, and a time-dependent oceanic heat flux parameterization yielded reasonable ice growth at the ice bottom. Model results suggest that weather conditions, in particular air temperature and precipitation, as well as snow thermal properties and surface albedo are the most critical factors for the development of snow ice and superimposed ice in Kongsfjorden. While both warming air and higher precipitation led to increased snow ice and superimposed ice forming in Kongsfjorden in the model runs, the processes were more sensitive to precipitation than to air temperature.

Keywords: Snow ice; superimposed ice; thermodynamic modelling; landfast sea ice; Kongsfjorden.

(Published: 24 August 2015)

Citation: Polar Research 2015, 34, 20828,


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How to Cite
Wang C., Cheng B., Wang K., Gerland S., & Pavlova O. (2015). Modelling snow ice and superimposed ice on landfast sea ice in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Polar Research, 34.
Research/review articles