Seasonal Freezing of a Subwater Ground Layer at the Laptev Sea Shelf
In this contribution, we present results from instrumental sea ice/ocean observations collected during the winter of 2014–15 in the Buor-Khaya Bay (southern Laptev Sea; Arctic Ocean). An observational analysis was complemented by numerical simulations, with a conceptual, one-dimensional thermodynamic model employed to describe the formation of sea ice cover, and to estimate the effect of fast ice growth on freezing of the underlying layer of bottom sediments. One of the advantages of this model is the application of two known methods for localization of the phase transition area. The classical (frontal) approach was used to reproduce seasonal growth of the fast ice layer, while the temperature spectrum describes phase transitions in the layer of bottom sediments. Using the developed model, we have described the thermodynamic evolution of the ice cover and the upper layer of the bottom sediments in the Tiksi Gulf. The simulations performed show that the presence of a liquid sub-ice layer, caused by salt rejection (an important element of the “ice-brine-ground” system) prevents complete freezing of the water layer even at very low (<−40 °C) air temperatures. The increased salinity of the sub-ice layer can cause melting of fast ice in shallow parts of the bay, even at negative air temperatures, alongside simultaneous growth in the areas located far from the coast.
This study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Project #17-05-01221 “Investigation of atmospheric boundary layer in the Arctic region with the data of the Russian polar observatories measurements”), the Ministry of Science and Education of the Russian Federation (Project “Changing Arctic Transpolar System” # 2017-14-588-0005-003), Roshydromet (Target scientific and technical program 126.96.36.199 “Environmental monitoring at the Tiksi Hydrometeorological Observatory in the frame of international project of joint researches”), and NSF (grants AON-1203473 and AON-1338948).
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