Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 5, 4037-4069, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in GMD.
A numerical study of the Southern Ocean including a thermodynamic active ice shelf – Part 1: Weddell Sea
V. Meccia1, I. Wainer1, M. Tonelli1, and E. Curchitser2
1Oceanographic Institute, University of Sao Paulo, Praca do Oceanografico, 191, Sao Paulo, SP 05508-120, Brazil
2Institute of Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers University, 71 Dudley Rd., New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Abstract. There is a great amount of uncertainty regarding the understanding of the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere interactions in the Southern Ocean despite the role that the region plays in our changing climate. With the aim of studying the relative importance of sea-ice and ice shelf processes in the Southern Ocean, a coupled ocean circulation sea-ice/ice shelf cavity model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) is used in a periodic circumpolar domain with enhanced resolution in the Weddell Sea. A hierarchy of numerical experiments is performed where first a sea-ice model is used and then an ice shelf thermodynamic parameterization is included in order to evaluate the improvements resulting from each component. Results show that it is necessary to consider the formation and melting of sea-ice in order to adequately reproduce the observed hydrography and circulation. Inclusion of ice shelves cavities in the model only improves results if the ice shelf-ocean thermodynamic fluxes are active. Ice shelves and ocean interactions are an important process to be considered in order to obtain realistic hydrographic values under the ice shelf. The model framework presented in this work is a promising tool for analyzing the Southern Ocean response to future climate change scenarios.

Citation: Meccia, V., Wainer, I., Tonelli, M., and Curchitser, E.: A numerical study of the Southern Ocean including a thermodynamic active ice shelf – Part 1: Weddell Sea, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 5, 4037-4069, doi:10.5194/gmdd-5-4037-2012, 2012.
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