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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-210
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-210
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 02 Oct 2019

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

The material properties of ice bridges in the Maxwell Elasto-Brittle rheology

Mathieu Plante1, Bruno Tremblay1, Martin Losch2, and Jean-François Lemieux3 Mathieu Plante et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • 2Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 3Recherche en prévision numérique environnementale, Environnement et changement climatique Canada, Dorval, Québec, Canada

Abstract. The shape and break-up of landfast ice arches in narrow channels depend on the material properties of the sea-ice. The effect of the material parameters on ice arches in a sea ice model with the Maxwell Elasto-Brittle (MEB) rheology is investigated. The MEB rheology, which includes a damage parameterization, is implemented using the numerical framework of a Viscous-Plastic model. This configuration allows to study their different physics independently of their numerical implementation. Idealized ice bridge simulations show that the elastic part of the model together with the damage parameterization allows the propagation of fractures in space at very short time-scales. The fractures orientation is sensitive to the chosen angle of internal friction, but deviates from theory. It is speculated that these deviations stem from the absence of a flow rule in the rheology. Downwind of a channel, the MEB model easily forms ice arches and sustains an ice bridge. Using a material cohesion in the range of 15–21 kPa is most consistent with the ice bridges commonly observed in the Arctic. Upstream of the channel, the formation of ice arches is complicated by the absence of a relationship between the ice strength and the ice conditions, and by the presence of numerical errors associated with the damage parameterization. Results suggest that the formation of ice arches upwind of a channel is highly dependent on the rheology and calls for more analysis to determine the necessary conditions for their formation.

Mathieu Plante et al.
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Short summary
We study the formation of ice arches between two islands using a model that resolves crack initiation and propagation. This model uses a damage parameter to parameterize the presence or absence of cracks in the ice. We find that the damage parameter allows for cracks to propagate in the ice but in a different orientation than predicted by theory. Results calls for improvement as to how stress relaxation associated with the damage is parameterized.
We study the formation of ice arches between two islands using a model that resolves crack...
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