Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Development and technical paper
06 Mar 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Explicit and parametrised representation of under ice shelf seas in a z* coordinate ocean model
Pierre Mathiot1,2, Adrian Jenkins1, Christopher Harris2, and Gurvan Madec3 1British Antarctic Survey, NERC, Cambridge, UK
2Met Office, Exeter, UK
3Sorbonne Universit s (University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN, LOCEAN Laboratory, Paris, France
Abstract. Ice shelf/ocean interactions are a major source of fresh water on the Antarctic continental shelf and have a strong impact on ocean properties, ocean circulation and sea ice. However, climate models based on the ocean/sea ice model NEMO currently do not include these interactions in any detail. The capability of explicitly simulating the circulation beneath ice shelves is introduced in the non-linear free surface model NEMO. Its implementation into the NEMO framework and its assessment in an idealised and realistic circum-Antarctic configuration is described in this study.

Compared with the current prescription of ice shelf melting (i.e. at the surface) inclusion of open sub-ice-shelf leads to a decrease sea ice thickness along the coast, a weakening of the ocean stratification on the shelf, a decrease in salinity of HSSW on the Ross and Weddell Sea shelves and an increase in the strength of the gyres that circulate within the over-deepened basins on the West Antarctic continental shelf. Mimicking the under ice shelf seas overturning circulation by introducing the meltwater over the depth range of the ice shelf base, rather than at the surface is also tested. It yields similar improvements in the simulated ocean properties and circulation over the Antarctic continental shelf than the explicit ice shelf cavity representation. With the ice shelf cavities opened, the widely-used “3 equations” ice shelf melting formulation enables an interactive computation of melting that has been assessed. Comparison with observational estimates of ice shelf melting indicates realistic results for most ice shelves. However, melting rates for Amery, Getz and George VI ice shelves are considerably overestimated.

Citation: Mathiot, P., Jenkins, A., Harris, C., and Madec, G.: Explicit and parametrised representation of under ice shelf seas in a z* coordinate ocean model, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Pierre Mathiot et al.
Pierre Mathiot et al.


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