skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, April 12 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, April 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Impacts of Sea Ice Mushy Thermodynamics in the Antarctic on the Coupled Earth System
Abstract

We analyze two preindustrial experiments from the Community Earth System Model version 2 to characterize the impact of sea ice physics on differences in coastal sea ice production around Antarctica and the resulting impact on the ocean and atmosphere. The experiment in which sea ice is a more realistic “mushy” mixture of solid ice and brine has a substantial increase in coastal sea ice frazil and snow ice production that is accompanied by decreasing bottom ice growth and increasing bottom melt. The more realistic “mushy” physics leads to an increase in water mass formation at denser water classes due primarily to surface ice processes. As a result, the subsurface ocean is denser, saltier, and there is an increase in Antarctic Bottom Water formation of0.5 Sv. For the atmosphere, “mushy” ice physics leads to decreased turbulent heat flux and low level cloud cover near the Antarctic coast.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10375587
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume:
48
Issue:
18
ISSN:
0094-8276
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The sea ice component of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) contains new “mushy‐layer” physics that simulates prognostic salinity in the sea ice, with consequent modifications to sea ice thermodynamics and the treatment of melt ponds. The changes to the sea ice model and their influence on coupled model simulations are described here. Two simulations were performed to assess the changes in the vertical thermodynamics formulation with prognostic salinity compared to a constant salinity profile. Inclusion of the mushy layer thermodynamics of Turner et al. (2013,https://doi.org/10.1002/jgrc.20171) in a fully coupled Earth system model produces thicker and more extensive sea ice in the Arctic, with relatively unchanged sea ice in the Antarctic compared to simulations using a constant salinity profile. While this is consistent with the findings of uncoupled ice‐ocean model studies, the role of the frazil and congelation growth is more important in fully coupled simulations. Melt pond drainage is also an important contribution to simulated ice thickness differences as also found in the uncoupled simulations of Turner and Hunke (2015;https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JC010358). However, it is an interaction of the ponds and the snow fraction that impacts the surface albedo and hence the top melt. The changes in the thermodynamics and resulting ice state modify the ice‐ocean‐atmosphere fluxes with impacts on the atmosphere and ocean states, particularly temperature.

     
    more » « less
  2. We assess Antarctic sea ice climatology and variability in version 2 of the Community Earth System Model (CESM2), and compare it to that in the older CESM1 and (where appropriate) real-world observations. In CESM2, Antarctic sea ice is thinner and less extensive than in CESM1, though sea ice area is still approximately 1 million km2 greater in CESM2 than in present-day observations. Though there is less Antarctic sea ice in CESM2, the annual cycle of ice growth and melt is more vigorous in CESM2 than in CESM1. A new mushy-layer thermodynamics formulation implemented in the latest version of the Community Ice Code (CICE) in CESM2 accounts for both greater frazil ice forma- tion in coastal polynyas and more snow-to-ice conversion near the edge of the ice pack in the new model. Greater winter ice divergence in CESM2 (relative to CESM1) is due to stronger stationary wave activity and greater wind stress curl over the ice pack. Greater wind stress curl, in turn, drives more warm water upwelling under the ice pack, thinning it and decreasing its extent. Overall, differences between Antarctic sea ice in CESM2 and CESM1 arise due to both differences in their sea ice thermodynamics formulations, and differences in their coupled atmosphere-ocean states. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Following sea‐ice retreat, surface waters of Arctic marginal seas become nutrient‐limited and subsurface chlorophyll maxima (SCM) develop below the pycnocline where nutrients and light conditions are favorable. However, the importance of these “hidden” features for regional productivity is not well constrained. Here, we use a unique combination of high‐resolution biogeochemical and physical observations collected on the Chukchi shelf in 2017 to constrain the fine‐scale structure of nutrients, O2, particles, SCM, and turbulence. We find large O2excess at middepth, identified by positive saturation () maxima of 15%–20% that unambiguously indicate significant production occurring in middepth waters. Themaxima coincided with a complete depletion of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN = NO3 + NO2 + NH4+). Nitracline depths aligned with SCM depths and the lowest extent ofmaxima, suggesting this horizon represents a compensation point for balanced growth and loss. Furthermore, SCM were also associated with turbulence minima and sat just above a high turbidity bottom layer where light attenuation increased significantly. Spatially, the largestmaxima were associated with high nutrient winter‐origin water masses (14.8% ± 2.4%), under a shallower pycnocline associated with seasonal melt while lower values were associated with summer‐origin water masses (7.4% ± 3.9%). Integrated O2excesses of 800–1,200 mmol m−2in regions overlying winter water are consistent with primary production rates that are 12%–40% of previously reported regional primary production. These data implicate short‐term and long‐term control of SCM and associated productivity by stratification, turbulence, light, and seasonal water mass formation, with corresponding potential for climate‐related sensitivities.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    A hierarchy of general circulation models (GCMs) is used to investigate the linearity of the response of the climate system to changes in Antarctic topography. Experiments were conducted with a GCM with either a slab ocean or fixed SSTs and sea ice, in which the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) and coastal Antarctic topography were either lowered or raised in an idealized way. Additional experiments were conducted with a fully coupled GCM with topographic perturbations based on an ice-sheet model in which the WAIS collapses. The response over the continent is the same in all model configurations and is mostly linear. In contrast, the response has substantial nonlinear elements over the Southern Ocean that depend on the model configuration and are due to feedbacks with sea ice, ocean, and clouds. The atmosphere warms near the surface over much of the Southern Ocean and cools in the stratosphere over Antarctica, whether topography is raised or lowered. When topography is lowered, the Southern Ocean surface warming is due to strengthened southward atmospheric heat transport and associated enhanced storminess over the WAIS and the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean. When topography is raised, Southern Ocean warming is more limited and is associated with circulation anomalies. The response in the fully coupled experiments is generally consistent with the more idealized experiments, but the full-depth ocean warms throughout the water column whether topography is raised or lowered. These results indicate that ice sheet–climate system feedbacks differ depending on whether the Antarctic ice sheet is gaining or losing mass.

    Significance Statement

    Throughout Earth’s history, the Antarctic ice sheet was at times taller or shorter than it is today. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean around Antarctica respond to changes in ice sheet height. We find that the response to lowering the ice sheet is not the opposite of the response to raising it, and that in either case the ocean surface near the continent warms. When the ice sheet is raised, the ocean warming is related to circulation changes; when the ice sheet is lowered, the ocean warming is from an increase in southward atmospheric heat transport. These results are important for understanding how the ice sheet height and local climate evolve together through time.

     
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 382, Iceberg Alley and Subantarctic Ice and Ocean Dynamics, investigated the long-term climate history of Antarctica, seeking to understand how polar ice sheets responded to changes in insolation and atmospheric CO2 in the past and how ice sheet evolution influenced global sea level and vice versa. Five sites (U1534–U1538) were drilled east of the Drake Passage: two sites at 53.2°S at the northern edge of the Scotia Sea and three sites at 57.4°–59.4°S in the southern Scotia Sea. We recovered continuously deposited late Neogene sediment to reconstruct the past history and variability in Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) mass loss and associated changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation. The sites from the southern Scotia Sea (Sites U1536–U1538) will be used to study the Neogene flux of icebergs through “Iceberg Alley,” the main pathway along which icebergs calved from the margin of the AIS travel as they move equatorward into the warmer waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). In particular, sediments from this area will allow us to assess the magnitude of iceberg flux during key times of AIS evolution, including the following: • The middle Miocene glacial intensification of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, • The mid-Pliocene warm period, • The late Pliocene glacial expansion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, • The mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), and • The “warm interglacials” and glacial terminations of the last 800 ky. We will use the geochemical provenance of iceberg-rafted detritus and other glacially eroded material to determine regional sources of AIS mass loss. We will also address interhemispheric phasing of ice sheet growth and decay, study the distribution and history of land-based versus marine-based ice sheets around the continent over time, and explore the links between AIS variability and global sea level. By comparing north–south variations across the Scotia Sea between the Pirie Basin (Site U1538) and the Dove Basin (Sites U1536 and U1537), Expedition 382 will also deliver critical information on how climate changes in the Southern Ocean affect ocean circulation through the Drake Passage, meridional overturning in the region, water mass production, ocean–atmosphere CO2 transfer by wind-induced upwelling, sea ice variability, bottom water outflow from the Weddell Sea, Antarctic weathering inputs, and changes in oceanic and atmospheric fronts in the vicinity of the ACC. Comparing changes in dust proxy records between the Scotia Sea and Antarctic ice cores will also provide a detailed reconstruction of changes in the Southern Hemisphere westerlies on millennial and orbital timescales for the last 800 ky. Extending the ocean dust record beyond the last 800 ky will help to evaluate dust-climate couplings since the Pliocene, the potential role of dust in iron fertilization and atmospheric CO2 drawdown during glacials, and whether dust input to Antarctica played a role in the MPT. The principal scientific objective of Subantarctic Front Sites U1534 and U1535 at the northern limit of the Scotia Sea is to reconstruct and understand how ocean circulation and intermediate water formation responds to changes in climate with a special focus on the connectivity between the Atlantic and Pacific basins, the “cold water route.” The Subantarctic Front contourite drift, deposited between 400 and 2000 m water depth on the northern flank of an east–west trending trough off the Chilean continental shelf, is ideally situated to monitor millennial- to orbital-scale variability in the export of Antarctic Intermediate Water beneath the Subantarctic Front. During Expedition 382, we recovered continuously deposited sediments from this drift spanning the late Pleistocene (from ~0.78 Ma to recent) and from the late Pliocene (~3.1–2.6 Ma). These sites are expected to yield a wide array of paleoceanographic records that can be used to interpret past changes in the density structure of the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, track migrations of the Subantarctic Front, and give insights into the role and evolution of the cold water route over significant climate episodes, including the following: • The most recent warm interglacials of the late Pleistocene and • The intensification of Northern Hemisphere glaciation. 
    more » « less