On 29 April 2015, four beacons were deployed onto an ice island in the Strait of Belle Isle to record positional data. The ice island later broke up into many fragments, four of which were tracked by the beacons. The relative influences of wind drag, current drag, Coriolis force, sea surface height gradient and sea-ice force on the drift of the tracked ice island fragments were analyzed. Using atmospheric and oceanic model outputs, the sea-ice force was calculated as the residual of the fragments' net forces and the sum of all other forces. This was compared against the force obtained through ice concentration-dependent relationships when sea ice was present. The sea-ice forces calculated from the residual approach and concentration-dependent relationships were significant only when sea ice was present at medium-high concentrations in the vicinity of the ice island fragments. The forces from ocean currents and sea surface tilt contributed the most to the drift of the ice island fragments. Wind, however, played a minimal role in the total force governing the drift of the four ice island fragments, and Coriolis force was significant when the fragments were drifting at higher speeds.

Atmospheric and oceanic forces, basal ablation, ice island deterioration, ice island drift, sea-ice force, surface ablation
Journal of Glaciology
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Zeinali Torbati, R. (Reza), Turnbull, I.D. (Ian D.), Taylor, R.S. (Rocky S.), & Mueller, D. (2019). Evaluation of the relative contribution of meteorological and oceanic forces to the drift of ice islands offshore Newfoundland. Journal of Glaciology. doi:10.1017/jog.2019.96