Sea ice forms in both the Arctic and the Antarctic in each hemisphere’s winter. It retreats, but does not completely disappear, in the summer.
Although sea ice models were first developed in the 1970s, they have only been included in climate models in the last decade. Comparing sea ice models with satellite and ground observations has shown that some of the initial model assumptions were wrong, and that as the ice cover has thinned and become more seasonal, features such as wave-ice interactions and melt ponds have become more important.
Using satellite data, we are developing the next generation of sea ice models to include processes such as anisotropy, melt ponds, form drag, frazil ice growth, and lateral floe melting.
This will allow us to assess the implications of freshwater reaching the ocean as the Greenland ice sheet melts, and to improve Arctic sea ice-ocean models. We will also explore the effects of changing drag conditions, and improve the representation of ice forces and drag laws in the CICE model.