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Wave dispersion and dissipation in landfast ice: comparison of observations against models


Voermans, JJ and Liu, Q and Marchenko, A and Rabault, J and Filchuk, K and Ryzhov, I and Heil, P and Waseda, T and Nose, T and Kodaira, T and Li, J and Babanin, AV, Wave dispersion and dissipation in landfast ice: comparison of observations against models, The Cryosphere, 15, (12) pp. 5557-5575. ISSN 1994-0416 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) (

DOI: doi:10.5194/tc-15-5557-2021


Observations of wave dissipation and dispersion in sea ice are a necessity for the development and validation of wave-ice interaction models. As the composition of the ice layer can be extremely complex, most models treat the ice layer as a continuum with effective, rather than independently measurable, properties. While this provides opportunities to fit the model to observations, it also obscures our understanding of the wave-ice interactive processes; in particular, it hinders our ability to identify under which environmental conditions these processes are of significance. Here, we aimed to reduce the number of free variables available by studying wave dissipation in landfast ice. That is, in continuous sea ice, such as landfast ice, the effective properties of the continuum ice layer should revert to the material properties of the ice. We present observations of wave dispersion and dissipation from a field experiment on landfast ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Independent laboratory measurements were performed on sea ice cores from a neighboring fjord in the Arctic to estimate the ice viscosity. Results show that the dispersion of waves in landfast ice is well described by theory of a thin elastic plate, and such observations could provide an estimate of the elastic modulus of the ice. Observations of wave dissipation in landfast ice are about an order of magnitude larger than in ice floes and broken ice. Comparison of our observations against models suggests that wave dissipation is attributed to the viscous dissipation within the ice layer for short waves only, whereas turbulence generated through the interactions between the ice and waves is the most likely process for the dissipation of wave energy for long periods. The separation between short and long waves in this context is expected to be determined by the ice thickness through its influence on the lengthening of short waves. Through the comparison of the estimated wave attenuation rates with distance from the landfast ice edge, our results suggest that the attenuation of long waves is weaker in comparison to short waves, but their dependence on wave energy is stronger. Further studies are required to measure the spatial variability of wave attenuation and measure turbulence underneath the ice independently of observations of wave attenuation to confirm our interpretation of the results.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:wave dispersion, wave dissipation, landfast ice
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Heil, P (Dr Petra Heil)
ID Code:151545
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
Deposited On:2022-08-01
Last Modified:2022-11-28
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