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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-13
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-13
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 28 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 28 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

On the statistical properties of sea ice lead fraction and heat fluxes in the Arctic

Einar Örn Ólason1, Pierre Rampal1, and Véronique Dansereau1,a Einar Örn Ólason et al.
  • 1Nansen Environmental Remote Sensing Center and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway
  • anow at: Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, Laboratoire 3SR, Grenoble, France

Abstract. In this paper we explore several statistical properties of the observed and simulated Arctic sea-ice lead-fraction, as well as the statistics of simulated Arctic ocean-atmosphere heat fluxes. We first show that the probability density function (PDF) and the monofractal spatial scaling of the observed lead fraction in the Central Arctic are both well represented by our model, neXtSIM. Given that the heat flux through leads may be up to two orders of magnitude larger than that through unbroken ice we then explore the statistical properties (PDF and spatial scaling) of the heat fluxes simulated by neXtSIM. We demonstrate that the modelled heat fluxes present a multifractal scaling in the Central Arctic, where heat fluxes through leads dominate the high-flux tail of the PDF. In the Central Arctic, the high-flux tail of the PDF is dominated by an exponential decay, which we attribute to the presence of coastal polynyas. Finally, we show that the scaling of simulated lead fraction and heat fluxes depend weakly on the model resolution and discuss the role sub-grid scale parameterisations of the ice heterogeneity may have in improving this result.

Einar Örn Ólason et al.

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Einar Örn Ólason et al.

Einar Örn Ólason et al.

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Latest update: 27 May 2020
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Short summary
We analyse the fractal properties observed in the pattern of the long, narrow openings that form in Arctic sea ice known as leads. We use statistical tools to explore the fractal properties of lead fraction observed in satellite data and show that our sea-ice model, neXtSIM, displays the same behaviour. Building on this result we then show that the pattern of heat loss from ocean to atmosphere in the model displays similar fractal properties, stemming from the fractal properties of the leads.
We analyse the fractal properties observed in the pattern of the long, narrow openings that form...
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