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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Jul 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Wave energy attenuation in fields of colliding ice floes. Part B: A laboratory case study

Agnieszka Herman1, Sukun Cheng2, and Hayley H. Shen3 Agnieszka Herman et al.
  • 1Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdansk, Poland
  • 2Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen, Norway
  • 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, USA

Abstract. This work analyzes laboratory observations of wave energy attenuation in fragmented sea ice cover composed of interacting, colliding floes. The experiment, performed in a large (72 m long) ice tank, includes several groups of tests in which regular, unidirectional, small-amplitude waves of different periods were run through floating ice with different floe sizes. The vertical deflection of the ice was measured at several locations along the tank, and video recording was used to document the overall ice behavior, including the presence of collisions and overwash of the ice surface. The observational data are analyzed in combination with the results of two types of models: a model of wave scattering by a series of floating elastic plates, based on the matched eigenfunction expansion method (MEEM); and a coupled wave-ice model based on discrete-element model (DEM) of sea ice and a wave model solving the stationary energy transport equation with two source terms, describing dissipation due to ice-water drag and due to overwash. The observed attenuation rates are significantly larger than those predicted by the MEEM model, indicating substantial contribution from dissipative processes. Moreover, the dissipation is frequency dependent, although, as we demonstrate on the example of two alternative theoretical attenuation curves, the quantitative nature of that dependence is difficult to determine and very sensitive to assumptions underlying the analysis. Similarly, more than one combination of the parameters of the coupled DEM-wave model (restitution coefficient, drag coefficient, overwash criteria) produces spatial attenuation patterns in good agreement with observed ones over a range of wave periods and floe sizes, making selection of optimal model settings difficult. The results demonstrate that experiments aimed at identifying dissipative processes accompanying wave propagation in sea ice and quantifying the contribution of those processes to the overall attenuation require simultaneous measurements of many processes over possibly large spatial domains.

Agnieszka Herman et al.
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Agnieszka Herman et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Sea ice interactions with waves are extensively studied in recent years, but mechanisms leading to wave energy attenuation in sea ice remain poorly understood. One of the reasons limiting progress in modeling is lack of observational data for model validation. This paper presents an analysis of laboratory observations of waves propagating in colliding ice floes. We show that wave attenuation is sensitive to floe size and wave period. A numerical model is calibrated to reproduce this behavior.
Sea ice interactions with waves are extensively studied in recent years, but mechanisms leading...