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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-63
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-63
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 Jul 2020

14 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Multidecadal Polynya Formation in a Conceptual (Box) Model

Daan Boot1, René M. Van Westen1, and Henk A. Dijkstra1,2 Daan Boot et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Department of Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 2Center for Complex Systems Studies, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. Maud Rise Polynyas (MRPs) form due to deep convection, which is caused by static instability of the water column. Recent studies with the Community Earth System Model (CESM) have indicated that a multidecadal varying heat accumulation in the subsurface layer occurs prior to MRP formation due to the heat transport over the Weddell gyre. In this study, a conceptual MRP box model, forced with CESM data, is used to investigate the role of this subsurface heat accumulation in MRP formation. Cases excluding and including multidecadal varying subsurface heat and salt fluxes are considered and multiple polynya events are only simulated in the cases where subsurface fluxes are included. The dominant frequency for MRP events in these results, approximately the frequency of the subsurface heat and salt accumulation, is still visible in cases where white noise is added to the freshwater flux. This indicates the importance and dominance of the subsurface heat accumulation in MRP formation.

Daan Boot et al.

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Daan Boot et al.

Data sets

MRP_Conceptual_Box_Model Daan Boot https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3941689

Model code and software

MRP_Conceptual_Box_Model Daan Boot https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3941689

Daan Boot et al.

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Latest update: 19 Oct 2020
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Short summary
The Maud Rise Polynya is a hole in the sea-ice surrounding Antarctica that occurs during winter. It appeared in the 1970s and in 2016 and 2017. Our study concludes that heat and salt accumulation around 1000 m depth are likely to be important for polynya formation. The heat is mixed upward to the surface where it is able to melt the sea-ice and thereby creating a polynya. How often the polynya forms, depends largely on the variation in time of the heat and salt accumulation.
The Maud Rise Polynya is a hole in the sea-ice surrounding Antarctica that occurs during winter....
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