Kim, Joong Tae (2007-09). Enhancing the resolution of sea ice in long-term global ocean general circulation model (gcm) integrations. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Open water in sea ice, such as leads and polynyas, plays a crucial role in determining the formation of deep- and bottom-water, as well as their long-term global properties and circulation. Ocean general circulation models (GCMs) designed for studies of the long-term thermohaline circulation have typically coarse resolution, making it inevitable to parameterize subgrid-scale features such as leads and convective plumes. In this study, a hierarchy of higher-resolution sea-ice models is developed to reduce uncertainties due to coarse resolution, while keeping the ocean component at coarse resolution to maintain the efficiency of the GCM to study the long-term deep-ocean properties and circulation. The higher-resolved sea-ice component is restricted to the Southern Ocean. Compared with the coarse sea-ice model, the intermediate, higher-resolution version yields more detailed coastal polynyas, a realistically sharp ice edge, and an overall enhanced lead fraction. The latter gives enhanced rates of Antarctic Bottom Water formation through enhanced near-boundary convection. Sensitivity experiments revealed coastal katabatic winds accounted for in the higher resolution version, are the main reason for producing such an effect. For a more realistic coastline, satellite passive-microwave data for fine-grid land/ice-shelf AcA?A? seaice/ ocean boundary were used. With a further enhancement of the resolution of the Southern OceanAcA?A?s sea-ice component, a grid spacing of 22 km is reached. This is about the size of the pixel resolution of satellite-passive microwave data from which ice concentration is retrieved. This product is used in this study to validate the sea-ice component of the global ocean GCM. The overall performance of the high-resolution sea-ice component is encouraging, particularly the representation of the crucial coastal polynyas. Enhancing the resolution of the convection parameterization reduces spurious coarse-grid polynyas. Constraining the upper-ocean temperature and modifying the plume velocity removes unrealistic small-scale convection within the ice pack. The observed highfrequency variability along the ice edge is to some extent captured by exposing the ice pack to upper-ocean currents that mimic tidal variability. While these measures improve several characteristics of the Southern Ocean sea-ice pack, they deteriorate the global deepocean properties and circulation, calling for further refinements and tuning to arrive at presently observed conditions.

publication date

  • September 2007