Investigations of Sea Ice Dynamics in the Baltic Sea

  • Matti Leppäranta
Part of the Solid Mechanics and Its Applications book series (SMIA, volume 94)


The Baltic Sea is a semi-enclosed basin in the seasonal sea ice zone. This ice dynamics problem offers its own particular regime of spatial scales below the large polar seas: the horizontal size of the basins is 100–300 km, the thickness of undeformed ice is up to 1 m, and ice ridges are typically 5–15 m thick. A series of experiments has been performed including drifting stations and coastal bases. The motion of the ice ranges between zero and the free drift state depending on the forcing and ice thickness. Compact, thick ice fields may remain stationary or when drifting the geometry of the fast ice boundary has a strong aligning influence on the ice motion. The compressive strength of such drift ice is 10 to 100 kPa and the shear strength is significant. Mathematical models have been developed for the ice dynamics in the Baltic Sea; the grid size has been 5 to 20 km, an order of magnitude larger than a typical floe size. The time scales of interest have been short term in ice forecasting and seasonal and interannual in the research of regional climate questions. The linear dimensions of the Baltic ice morphology scale with the Central Arctic by about 1:5 but the models work well with essentially the same parameterization schemes and parameter ranges.


Drag Coefficient Synthetic Aperture Radar Geostrophic Wind Free Drift Coastal Basis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matti Leppäranta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeophysicsUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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