The Effects of Ice Floe-Floe Interactions on Pressure Ridging in Sea Ice
The mechanical interactions between ice floes in the polar sea-ice packs play an important role in the state and predictability of the sea-ice cover. We use a Lagrangian-based numerical model to investigate such floe-floe interactions. Our simulations show that elastic and reversible deformation offers significant resistance to compression before ice floes yield with brittle failure. Compressional strength dramatically decreases once pressure ridges start to form, which implies that thicker sea ice is not necessarily stronger than thinner ice. The mechanical transition is not accounted for in most current sea-ice models that describe ice strength by thickness alone. We propose a parameterization that describes failure mechanics from fracture toughness and Coulomb sliding, improving the representation of ridge building dynamics in particle-based and continuum sea-ice models.