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Area-Averaged Surface Moisture Flux over Fragmented Sea Ice: Floe Size Distribution Effects and the Associated Convection Structure within the Atmospheric Boundary Layer

Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdansk, Al. J. Pilsudskiego 46, 81-378 Gdynia, Poland
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Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110654
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 23 October 2019 / Accepted: 24 October 2019 / Published: 28 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disentangling Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions, from Weather to Climate)
Sea ice fragmentation results in the transformation of the surface from relatively homogeneous to highly heterogeneous. Atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) rapidly responds to those changes through a range of processes which are poorly understood and not parametrized in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The aim of this work is to increase our understanding and develop parametrization of the ABL response to different floe size distributions (FSD). The analysis is based on the results of simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting model. Results show that FSD determines the distribution and intensity of convection within the ABL through its influence on the atmospheric circulation. Substantial differences between various FSDs are found in the analysis of spatial arrangement and strength of ABL convection. To incorporate those sub-grid effects in the NWP models, a correction factor for the calculation of surface moisture heat flux is developed. It is expressed as a function of floe size, sea ice concentration and wind speed, and enables a correction of the flux computed from area-averaged quantities, as is typically done in NWP models. In general, the presented study sheds some more light on the sea ice–atmosphere interactions and provides the first attempt to parametrize the influence of FSD on the ABL. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions; floe size distribution; atmospheric boundary layer; surface turbulent fluxes sea ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions; floe size distribution; atmospheric boundary layer; surface turbulent fluxes
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Wenta, M.; Herman, A. Area-Averaged Surface Moisture Flux over Fragmented Sea Ice: Floe Size Distribution Effects and the Associated Convection Structure within the Atmospheric Boundary Layer. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 654.

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