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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 3
The Cryosphere, 10, 1055-1073, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-1055-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
The Cryosphere, 10, 1055-1073, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-1055-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 20 May 2016

Research article | 20 May 2016

neXtSIM: a new Lagrangian sea ice model

Pierre Rampal1, Sylvain Bouillon1, Einar Ólason1, and Mathieu Morlighem2 Pierre Rampal et al.
  • 1Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, California, USA

Abstract. The Arctic sea ice cover has changed drastically over the last decades. Associated with these changes is a shift in dynamical regime seen by an increase of extreme fracturing events and an acceleration of sea ice drift. The highly non-linear dynamical response of sea ice to external forcing makes modelling these changes and the future evolution of Arctic sea ice a challenge for current models. It is, however, increasingly important that this challenge be better met, both because of the important role of sea ice in the climate system and because of the steady increase of industrial operations in the Arctic. In this paper we present a new dynamical/thermodynamical sea ice model called neXtSIM that is designed to address this challenge. neXtSIM is a continuous and fully Lagrangian model, whose momentum equation is discretised with the finite-element method. In this model, sea ice physics are driven by the combination of two core components: a model for sea ice dynamics built on a mechanical framework using an elasto-brittle rheology, and a model for sea ice thermodynamics providing damage healing for the mechanical framework. The evaluation of the model performance for the Arctic is presented for the period September 2007 to October 2008 and shows that observed multi-scale statistical properties of sea ice drift and deformation are well captured as well as the seasonal cycles of ice volume, area, and extent. These results show that neXtSIM is an appropriate tool for simulating sea ice over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.

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The Arctic sea ice cover has changed drastically over the last decades and undergone a shift in its dynamical regime, as seen by the increase of extreme fracturing events and the acceleration of sea ice drift. In this paper we present a new sea ice model, neXtSIM, that is capable of simulating both sea ice drift and deformation as observed from satellites, with similar spatial and temporal scaling properties. At the same time, the model reproduces sea ice area, extent, and volume correctly.
The Arctic sea ice cover has changed drastically over the last decades and undergone a shift in...
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