Numerical Prediction of the Thermodynamic Response of Arctic Sea Ice to Environmental Changes

by G. A. Maykut, Norbert Untersteiner

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Description of a one-dimensional model of Arctic sea ice. The inputs are: albedo, incoming radiation, turbulent fluxes, oceanic heat flux, ice salinity, and snow accumulation. Given an arbitrary initial ice temperature field and ice thickness, the model predicts the changes in these wrought by specified environmental parameters. Annual variations in temperature and thickness are followed year by year until the pattern is stable, i.e., until either the ice disappears or the annual sequence of growth and depletion is repeated unchanged. Values predicted (using inputs based on the present climate) agree closely with field observations. Tables for 28 specified cases and annual charts for 25 are presented. In addition to showing annual growth and depletion of ice under normal and anomalous climates, results show mechanisms by which environmental conditions affect the ice. (See also R-444, RM-5233, RM-5793.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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