Modelling wave-induced ice breakup in the marginal ice zone
Proceedings of the Royal Society A (2017)
A model of ice floe break-up under ocean wave forcing in the marginal ice zone (MIZ) is proposed to investigate how floe size distribution (FSD) evolves under repeated wave break-up events.
The FSD after 50 break-up events is unimodal and near normal, suggesting waves alone do not govern the power law observed in some field studies. Multiple scattering is found to enhance break-up for long waves and thin ice, but to reduce break-up for short waves and thick ice. A break-up front marches forward in the latter regime, as wave-induced fracture weakens the ice cover, allowing waves to travel deeper into the MIZ.