Numerical modelling of thermodynamics and dynamics of sea ice in the Baltic Sea
- Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdańsk, 81-378 Gdynia, Poland
Abstract. In this paper, a numerical dynamic-thermo-dynamic sea-ice model for the Baltic Sea is used to analyze the variability of ice conditions in three winter seasons. The modelling results are validated with station (water temperature) and satellite data (ice concentration) as well as by qualitative comparisons with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute ice charts. Analysis of the results addresses two major questions. One concerns effects of meteorological forcing on the spatio-temporal distribution of ice concentration in the Baltic. Patterns of correlations between air temperature, wind speed, and ice-covered area are demonstrated to be different in larger, more open sub-basins (e.g., the Bothnian Sea) than in the smaller ones (e.g., the Bothnian Bay). Whereas the correlations with the air temperature are positive in both cases, the influence of wind is pronounced only in large basins, leading to increase/decrease of areas with small/large ice concentrations, respectively. The other question concerns the role of ice dynamics in the evolution of the ice cover. By means of simulations with the dynamic model turned on and off, the ice dynamics is shown to play a crucial role in interactions between the ice and the upper layers of the water column, especially during periods with highly varying wind speeds and directions. In particular, due to the fragmentation of the ice cover and the modified surface fluxes, the ice dynamics influences the rate of change of the total ice volume, in some cases by as much as 1 km3 per day. As opposed to most other numerical studies on the sea-ice in the Baltic Sea, this work concentrates on the short-term variability of the ice cover and its response to the synoptic-scale forcing.