A continuum model of melt pond evolution on Arctic sea ice

[1] During the Northern Hemisphere summer, absorbed solar radiation melts snow and the upper surface of Arctic sea ice to generate meltwater that accumulates in ponds. The melt ponds reduce the albedo of the sea ice cover during the melting season, with a significant impact on the heat and mass budget of the sea ice and the upper ocean. We have developed a model, designed to be suitable for inclusion into a global circulation model (GCM), which simulates the formation and evolution of the melt pond cover. In order to be compatible with existing GCM sea ice models, our melt pond model builds upon the existing theory of the evolution of the sea ice thickness distribution. Since this theory does not describe the topography of the ice cover, which is crucial to determining the location, extent, and depth of individual ponds, we have needed to introduce some assumptions. We describe our model, present calculations and a sensitivity analysis, and discuss our results.


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Authors: Flocco, Daniela, Feltham, Daniel L.

1 January, 2007
Journal of Geophysical Research / 112
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