Tidal dissipation from free drift sea ice in the Barents Sea assessed using GNSS beacon observations

Amey Vasulkar*, Martin Verlaan, Cornelis Slobbe, Lars Kaleschke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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One of the major challenges facing global hydrodynamic tidal models is the modelling of the interaction between sea ice and tides in high-latitude waters. Recent studies have shown strong seasonal correlation between sea ice and tides. Hence, it is important to accurately model the effect of sea ice in a tidal model. Presence of sea ice leads to a frictional dissipation of tides. Most models either completely ignore sea ice or partly include it by assuming a fixed sea ice cover (landfast ice). However, sea ice can also be drifting and the nature of dissipation between drifting sea ice and tides is partly unknown. We assess the dissipation of tides due to free drift sea ice. In the absence of wind, this is negligible in the deeper and open ocean. For the shallow water regions, however, this dissipation is unknown. Here, we evaluate this dissipation for the Spitzbergen Shelf region using a beacon dataset showing strong free drift subdaily sea ice oscillations and a physics based point ice model. Two analyses were done which compared the model and observed motion. The analyses showed that for winds speeds below 8m/s and with low subdaily signals, the subdaily free drift sea ice motion is strongly connected to the tides and that the frictional dissipation is low. In the context of global tide and storm surge models, the dissipation from free drift sea ice on tides should be evaluated based on the region (deep ocean or shallow water) and existing wind conditions. In the presence of strong winds the dissipation between free drift sea ice and air can be significant on a subdaily scale even if there are no subdaily signals in the wind itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-597
Number of pages21
JournalOcean Dynamics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Free drift sea ice
  • Global tide models
  • Ice buoys
  • Sea ice oscillations
  • Subdaily motion
  • Tidal sea ice interface dissipation


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