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Sensitivity of air-sea heat exchange in cold-air outbreaks to model resolution and sea-ice distribution
  • Clemens Spensberger,
  • Thomas Spengler
Clemens Spensberger
University of Bergen

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Thomas Spengler
University of Bergen
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Modeling air-sea interactions during cold air outbreaks poses a major challenge because of the vast range of scales and physical processes involved. Using the Polar WRF model, we investigate the sensitivity of downstream air mass properties to (a) model resolution, (b) the sharpness of the marginal-ice zone (MIZ), and (c) the geometry of the sea ice edge. The resolved sharpness of the MIZ strongly affects peak heat fluxes and the atmospheric water cycle. For sharper MIZs, roll convection is initiated closer to the sea ice edge, increasing both evaporation and precipitation. This yields an increased heat transfer into the atmosphere while the net effect on the atmospheric moisture budget is small. Overall, higher atmospheric resolution increases both the peak and net heat extracted from the ocean. The geometry of the sea ice edge can induce convergence or divergence zones that affect the air-sea exchange.
16 Mar 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres volume 126 issue 5. 10.1029/2020JD033610