Intercomparison of Antarctic ice-shelf, ocean, and sea-ice interactions simulated by MetROMS-iceshelf and FESOM 1.4


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Hartmut.Hellmer [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

An increasing number of Southern Ocean models now include Antarctic ice-shelf cavities, and simulate thermodynamics at the ice-shelf/ocean interface. This adds another level of complexity to Southern Ocean simulations, as ice shelves interact directly with the ocean and indirectly with sea ice. Here, we present the first model intercomparison and evaluation of present-day ocean/sea-ice/ice-shelf interactions, as simulated by two models: a circumpolar Antarctic configuration of MetROMS (ROMS: Regional Ocean Modelling System coupled to CICE: Community Ice CodE) and the global model FESOM (Finite Element Sea-ice Ocean Model), where the latter is run at two different levels of horizontal resolution. From a circumpolar Antarctic perspective, we compare and evaluate simulated ice-shelf basal melting and sub-ice-shelf circulation, as well as sea-ice properties and Southern Ocean water mass characteristics as they influence the sub-ice-shelf processes. Despite their differing numerical methods, the two models produce broadly similar results and share similar biases in many cases. Both models reproduce many key features of observations but struggle to reproduce others, such as the high melt rates observed in the small warm-cavity ice shelves of the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas. Several differences in model design show a particular influence on the simulations. For example, FESOM's greater topographic smoothing can alter the geometry of some ice-shelf cavities enough to affect their melt rates; this improves at higher resolution, since less smoothing is required. In the interior Southern Ocean, the vertical coordinate system affects the degree of water mass erosion due to spurious diapycnal mixing, with MetROMS' terrain-following coordinate leading to more erosion than FESOM's z coordinate. Finally, increased horizontal resolution in FESOM leads to higher basal melt rates for small ice shelves, through a combination of stronger circulation and small-scale intrusions of warm water from offshore.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
46950
DOI 10.5194/gmd-11-1257-2018

Cite as
Naughten, K. A. , Meissner, K. J. , Galton-Fenzi, B. K. , England, M. H. , Timmermann, R. , Hellmer, H. H. , Hattermann, T. and Debernard, J. B. (2018): Intercomparison of Antarctic ice-shelf, ocean, and sea-ice interactions simulated by MetROMS-iceshelf and FESOM 1.4 , Geoscientific Model Development, 11 (4), pp. 1257-1292 . doi: 10.5194/gmd-11-1257-2018


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