Satellite imagery shows that there was substantial variability in the sea ice extent in the Ross Sea during 2001-2003. Much of this variability is thought to be due to several large icebergs that moved through the area during that period. The effects of these changes in sea ice on circulation and water mass distributions are investigated with a numerical general circulation model. It would be difficult to simulate the highly variable sea ice from 2001 to 2003 with a dynamic sea ice model since much of the variability was due to the floating icebergs. Here, sea ice concentration is specified from satellite observations. To examine the effects of changes in sea ice due to iceberg C-19, simulations were performed using either climatological ice concentrations or the observed ice for that period. The heat balance around the Ross Sea Polynya (RSP) shows that the dominant term in the surface heat budget is the net exchange with the atmosphere, but advection of oceanic warm water is also important. The area average annual basal melt rate beneath the Ross Ice Shelf is reduced by 12% in the observed sea ice simulation. The observed sea ice simulation also creates more High-Salinity Shelf Water. Another simulation was performed with observed sea ice and a fixed iceberg representing B-15A. There is reduced advection of warm surface water during summer from the RSP into McMurdo Sound due to B-15A, but a much stronger reduction is due to the late opening of the RSP in early 2003 because of C-19.
Dinniman, Michael S.; Klinck, John M.; and Smith, Walker O., "Influence of Sea Ice Cover and Icebergs on Circulation and Water Mass Formation in a Numerical Circulation Model of the Ross Sea, Antarctica" (2007). CCPO Publications. 28.