Numerical modeling of force and contact networks in fragmented sea ice

A. Herman, Annals Glaciology, 54, 114-120 (2013).

In this paper, a molecular-dynamics sea-ice model is used to study contact and force networks in fragmented sea ice, composed of separate floes with power-law size distribution. The momentum equations for individual floes, taking into account floe/floe collisions (with Hertzian contact mechanics), are formulated in a way suitable for a computationally efficient numerical algorithm, allowing simulation of systems of thousands of floes. The simulations are performed for a number of scenarios: pure convergence without wind, through a jamming phase transition; constant wind at a constant ice concentration; and an idealized marginal ice zone. An analysis of the statistical properties of the contact and force networks reveals a highly localized, intermittent character of internal stress in the ice, as well as the role of the size-dependent response of floes to the forcing in formation of spatial patterns of internal stress at lower ice concentrations. The results provide a valuable starting point for formulating improved rheology models for fragmented sea ice.

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