A finite-element treatment of sea ice dynamics for different ice rheologies

R. M.S.M. Schulkes, L. W. Morland, R. Staroszczyk

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20 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper the effects of four different rheologies on the evolution of a large-scale sea ice pack are determined and compared. Two rheologies are of viscous-plastic form, and two are viscous fluid relations. The initial pack domain is rectangular, and the motion is driven by wind stress and resisted by ocean drag. Two adjacent edges are rigid shore boundaries, and the other two are free boundaries at open water which move during the pack motion, so that the pack domain changes in time. Two different forms of boundary conditions at the rigid shore edges are considered, which also influence the evolution. The governing equations are solved numerically using a finite-element method, and, unlike previous numerical treatments, no artificial viscosity is incorporated to stabilise the algorithm near interfaces between converging and diverging flow. Instability arises when any tensile stress is abruptly cut-off when diverging flow is initiated, and an alternative view is offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-174
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Finite-element
  • Rheology
  • Sea ice pack
  • Viscous fluid
  • Viscous-plastic

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