Investigation of ice formation and water mass modification in eastern Laptev Sea polynyas by means of satellites and models

  • Salt expelled during the formation of ice in polynyas leads to a downward precipitation of brine that causes thermohaline convection and erodes the density stratification of the water column. In this thesis we investigate by means of flux models and satellite data the ability of the Western New Siberian (WNS) flaw polynya to modify the stratification of the water column and to form saline bottom water. The accuracy of existent microwave satellite-based polynya monitoring methods is assessed by a comparison of derived estimates with airborne electromagnetic ice thicknessmeasurements and aerial photographs taken across the polynya. The crossvalidation indicates that in the narrow flaw polynyas of the Laptev Sea the coarse resolution of commonly used microwave channel combinations provokes errors through mixed signals at the fast and pack ice edges. Likewise, the accuracy of flux models is tested by comparing model results to ice thickness and ice production estimates derived from high-resolution thermal infrared satellite observations. We find that if a realistic fast ice boundary and parameterization of the collection depth H is used and if themovement of the pack ice edge is prescribed correctly, the model is an appropriate tool for studying polynya dynamics and estimating associated fluxes. Hence, a flux model is used to examine the effect of ice production on the stratification of the water column. The ability of the polynya to formdense shelf bottomwater is investigated by adding the brine released during an exceptionally strongWNS polynya event in 2004 to the average winter density stratification of the water body. Owing to the strong density stratification and the apparent lack of extreme polynya events in the eastern Laptev Sea, we find the likelihood of convective mixing down to the bottom to be extremely low. We conclude that the recently observed breakdown of the stratification during polynya events is therefore predominantly related to wind- and tidally-driven turbulent mixing.

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Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Thomas Krumpen
Referee:Rüdiger Gerdes, Laurenz Thomsen, Christian Haas, Jens A. Hölemann
Advisor:Rüdiger Gerdes
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:101:1-2013052411243
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Language:English
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2010/10/04
Date of First Publication:2010/11/16
PhD Degree:Geosciences
School:SES School of Engineering and Science
Library of Congress Classification:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation / GC Oceanography / GC200-376 Dynamics of the ocean / GC297-299 Water masses and oceanic mixing / GC297 Water masses
Call No:Thesis 2010/24

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