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Modeling the ice-attenuated waves in the Great Lakes

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A partly coupled wave-ice model with the ability to resolve ice-induced attenuation on waves was developed using the Finite-Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) framework and applied to the Great Lakes. Seven simple, flexible, and efficient parameterization schemes originating from the WAVEWATCH III® IC4 were used to quantify the wave energy loss during wave propagation under ice. The reductions of wind energy input and wave energy dissipation via whitecapping and breaking due to presence of ice were also implemented (i.e., blocking effect). The model showed satisfactory performance when validated by buoy-observed significant wave height in ice-free season at eight stations and satellite-retrieved ice concentration. The simulation ran over the basin-scale, five-lake computational grid provided a whole map of ice-induced wave attenuation in the heavy-ice year 2014, suggesting that except Lake Ontario and central Lake Michigan, lake ice almost completely inhibited waves in the Great Lakes under heavy-ice condition. A practical application of the model in February 2011 revealed that the model could accurately reproduce the ice-attenuated waves when validated by wave observations from bottom-moored acoustic wave and current profiler (AWAC); moreover, the AWAC wave data showed quick responses between waves and ice, suggesting a sensitive relationship between waves and ice and arguing that accurate ice modeling was necessary for quantifying wave-ice interaction.

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We gratefully thank the two anonymous reviewers for providing constructive and insightful comments, which have contributed to the substantial improvements of the manuscript. Peng Bai acknowledges a grant from the National Research Council Research Associateship Programs. This research was partially funded by NSF Grant OCE 0927643 to Dmitry Beletsky. We would like to thank Songzhi Liu for his assistance in processing the NIC ice concentration data. This is GLERL Contribution No. 1946. Funding was awarded to the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) through the NOAA Cooperative Agreement with the University of Michigan (NA17OAR4320152). This CIGLR contribution number is 1160.

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Correspondence to Peng Bai.

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Responsible Editor: Tal Ezer

This article is part of the Topical Collection on the 11th International Workshop on Modeling the Ocean (IWMO), Wuxi, China, 17-20 June 2019

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Bai, P., Wang, J., Chu, P. et al. Modeling the ice-attenuated waves in the Great Lakes. Ocean Dynamics 70, 991–1003 (2020).

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