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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Seasonality in the response of sea ice and upwelling to wind forcing in the southern Beaufort Sea Wang, Qiang


The seasonal pattern of ice motion in response to wind forcing and potential consequences to upwelling on the Mackenzie Shelf are considered using satellite-derived ice motion data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the NCEP 10 m wind data. The frequency of strong upwelling-favorable alongshore ice motion is high in early winter (November and December) compared to middle and late winter (January to May).For periods when the alongshore component of the wind is upwelling-favorable, the ratio of ice drift divided by wind speed on the Mackenzie Shelf is 0.024 in November and0.008 in March; we conjecture that this ratio decreases as winter progresses because the internal ice stress becomes stronger as both ice thickness and ice concentration increase. This constitutes a possible 10-fold decrease in the seasonal transmission of wind stress to the underlying water from November to March. This ratio in May (0.015) is higher than that in March. We suggest that it is because the internal ice stress becomes weaker as ice concentration decreases on the Mackenzie Shelf in May. Hence, under the same wind forcing, the potential for winter upwelling on Mackenzie Shelf may be enhanced if climate warming results in reduced ice thickness and/or ice concentration. Numerical model results show that the stress on the shelf could be reduced because of the internal ice stress from the pack ice over the deep ocean when the ice moves like a rigid body. We found that the model results are not realistic when the ice strength is 5,000 Nm-2. When the ice strength is 27,500 Nm-2, the model results are more realistic.

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