Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 179–211

‘Surface Drag in the Arctic Marginal Sea-ice Zone: A Comparison of Different Parameterisation Concepts’


DOI: 10.1007/s10546-005-1445-8

Cite this article as:
Lüpkes, C. & Birnbaum, G. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (2005) 117: 179. doi:10.1007/s10546-005-1445-8


Two parameterisation schemes for the turbulent surface fluxes and drag coefficients over the Arctic marginal sea-ice zone (MIZ) are (further) developed, and their results are compared with each other. Although the schemes are based on different principles (flux averaging and parameter averaging), the resulting drag coefficients differ only slightly in the case of neutral and stable stratification. For unstable stratification and sea-ice conditions being typical for the north-eastern Fram Strait, the drag coefficients resulting from the parameter-averaging concept are 5–10% larger than those of the flux-averaging concept. At a sea-ice concentration of 45%, the parameter-averaging method overestimates the heat fluxes by a factor of 1.2. An inclusion in the schemes of form drag caused by floe edges and ridges has a much larger effect on the drag coefficient, and on the momentum fluxes, than the choice between the parameter-averaging or flux-averaging methods. Based on sensitivity studies with the flux-averaging scheme, a simple formula for the effective drag coefficient above the Arctic MIZ is derived. It reduces the computational costs of the more complex parameterisations and could also be used in larger scale models. With this simple formula, the effective drag coefficient can be calculated as a function of the sea-ice concentration and skin drag coefficients for water and ice floes. The results obtained with this parameterisation differ only slightly from those using the more complex schemes. Finally, it is shown that in the MIZ, drag coefficients for sea-ice models may differ significantly from the effective drag coefficients used in atmospheric models.


Blending heightDrag coefficientsFlux aggregationForm dragHeterogeneous surfaceMarginal sea-ice zoneSea ice

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany