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Journal Articles Comptes rendus - Physique Year : 2004

Scale properties of sea ice deformation and fracturing


The sea ice cover, which insulates the ocean from the atmosphere, plays a fundamental role in the Earth's climate system. This cover deforms and fractures under the action of winds, ocean currents and thermal stresses. Along with thermodynamics, this deformation and fracturing largely controls the amount of open water within the ice cover and the distribution of ice thickness, two parameters of high climatic importance, especially during fall and winter (no melting). Here we present a scaling analysis of sea ice deformation and fracturing that allows us to characterize the heterogeneity of fracture patterns and of deformation fields, as well as the intermittency of stress records. We discuss the consequences of these scaling properties, particularly for sea ice modelling in global climate models. We show how multifractal scaling laws can be extrapolated to small scales to learn about the nature of the mechanisms that accommodate the deformation. We stress that these scaling properties preclude the use of homogenisation techniques (i.e. the use of mean values) to link different scales, and we discuss how these detailed observations should be used to constrain sea ice dynamics modelling. To cite this article: J. Weiss, D. Marsan, C. R. Physique 5 (2004).

Dates and versions

insu-03607127 , version 1 (12-03-2022)



Jérôme Weiss, David Marsan. Scale properties of sea ice deformation and fracturing. Comptes rendus - Physique, 2004, 5, pp.735-751. ⟨10.1016/j.crhy.2004.09.005⟩. ⟨insu-03607127⟩
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