Wave measurements from ship mounted sensors in the Arctic marginal ice zone

Last modified: 
November 30, 2020 - 5:06pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2021
Date published: 02/2021
Authors: Trygve Løken, Jean Rabault, Atle Jensen, Graig Sutherland, Kai Christensen, Malte Müller
Journal title: Cold Regions Science and Technology
Volume: 182
Pages: 103207
ISSN: 0165232X

This study presents wave measurements in the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) obtained from ship mounted sensors. The system combines altimeter readings from the ship bow with ship motion correction data to provide estimated single point ocean surface elevation. Significant wave height and mean wave period, as well as one-dimensional wave spectra are derived from the combined measurements. The results are compared with integrated parameters from two spectral wave models over a period of eight days in the open ocean, and with spectra and integrated parameters derived from motion detecting instruments placed on ice floes inside the MIZ. Mean absolute errors of the integrated parameters are in the range 13.4-29.9% when comparing with the spectral wave models and 1.0-9.6% when comparing with valid motion detecting instruments. The spatial wave damping coefficient is estimated by looking at the change in spectral wave amplitude found at discrete frequency values as the ship was moving along the longitudinal direction of the MIZ within time intervals where the wave field is found to be approximately constant in time. As expected from theory, high frequency waves are effectively dampened by the presence of sea ice. The observed wave attenuation rates compare favourably with a two-layer dissipation model. Our methodology can be regarded as a simple and reliable way to collect more waves-in-ice data as it can be easily added to any ship participating to ice expeditions, at little extra cost.

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