An intercomparison of bulk aerodynamic algorithms used over sea ice with data from the Surface Heat Budget for the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) experiment

Michael A. Brunke, Mingyu Zhou, Xubin Zeng, Edgar L. Andreas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


The presence of sea ice fundamentally changes the energy and momentum exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere in the Arctic. Thus an accurate representation of the surface turbulent fluxes in climate models is a necessity. An intercomparison of bulk aerodynamic algorithms that calculate surface turbulent fluxes in four climate and numerical weather prediction models is undertaken using data from the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) field experiment, which occurred on the ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas north of Alaska from October 1997 to October 1998. Algorithm deficiencies include the consistently higher wind stresses produced by the Arctic Regional Climate System Model (ARCSYM) algorithm; the lower sensible heat fluxes under stable conditions by the algorithms in ARCSYM, the National Center for Environmental Prediction's Global Forecasting System model, and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model; and the lower wind stresses by the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Climate System Model (CCSM) algorithm under stable conditions. Unlike the constants used in most of the four model algorithms, the roughness lengths for momentum can be fitted by an exponential function with parameters that account for the seasonality in the roughness length. The roughness lengths for heat, Zot, can be considered a constant (e.g., that used in CCSM, 0.5 mm), similar to what was found by Andreas et al. (2004). When these roughness lengths were implemented into the CCSM and ECMWF algorithms, they produced slightly better wind stresses and sensible heat fluxes most of the time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC09001
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 8 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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