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Reconciling heat flux and salt flux estimates at a melting ice-ocean interface

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Keitzl,  Thomas
Max Planck Research Group Turbulent Mixing Processes in the Earth System, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;
IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Mellado,  Juan-Pedro
Max Planck Research Group Turbulent Mixing Processes in the Earth System, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Notz,  Dirk
Max Planck Research Group The Sea Ice in the Earth System, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Keitzl, T., Mellado, J.-P., & Notz, D. (2016). Reconciling heat flux and salt flux estimates at a melting ice-ocean interface. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 121, 8419-8433. doi:10.1002/2016JC012018.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-C224-2
Abstract
The heat exchange between floating ice and the underlying ocean is determined by the interplay of diffusive fluxes directly at the ice–ocean interface and turbulent fluxes away from it. In this study, we examine this interplay through direct numerical simulations of free convection. Our results show that an estimation of the interface flux ratio based on direct measurements of the turbulent fluxes can be difficult because the flux ratio varies with depth. As an alternative, we present a consistent evaluation of the flux ratio based on the total heat and salt fluxes across the boundary layer. This approach allows us to reconcile previous estimates of the ice–ocean interface conditions. We find that the ratio of heat and salt fluxes directly at the interface is 83–100 rather than 33 as determined by previous turbulence measurements in the outer layer. This can cause errors in the estimated ice-ablation rate from field measurements of up to 40% if they are based on the three-equation formulation.