Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 9403-9450, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review article
10 Sep 2014
Advances in understanding and parameterization of small-scale physical processes in the marine Arctic climate system: a review
T. Vihma1,2, R. Pirazzini1, I. Fer3, I. A. Renfrew4, J. Sedlar5,6, M. Tjernström5,6, C. Lüpkes7, T. Nygård1, D. Notz8, J. Weiss9, D. Marsan10, B. Cheng1, G. Birnbaum7, S. Gerland11, D. Chechin12, and J. C. Gascard13 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
2The University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway
3University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
4University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
5Bert Bolin Center for Climate Research, Stockholm, Sweden
6Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
7Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
8Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
9LGGE, Université de Grenoble, CNRS, Grenoble, France
10ISTerre, Université de Savoie, CNRS, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France
11Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
12A. M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
13Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
Abstract. The Arctic climate system includes numerous highly interactive small-scale physical processes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean. During and since the International Polar Year 2007–2009, significant advances have been made in understanding these processes. Here, these recent advances are reviewed, synthesized, and discussed. In atmospheric physics, the primary advances have been in cloud physics, radiative transfer, mesoscale cyclones, coastal, and fjordic processes as well as in boundary layer processes and surface fluxes. In sea ice and its snow cover, advances have been made in understanding of the surface albedo and its relationships with snow properties, the internal structure of sea ice, the heat and salt transfer in ice, the formation of superimposed ice and snow ice, and the small-scale dynamics of sea ice. For the ocean, significant advances have been related to exchange processes at the ice–ocean interface, diapycnal mixing, double-diffusive convection, tidal currents and diurnal resonance. Despite this recent progress, some of these small-scale physical processes are still not sufficiently understood: these include wave–turbulence interactions in the atmosphere and ocean, the exchange of heat and salt at the ice–ocean interface, and the mechanical weakening of sea ice. Many other processes are reasonably well understood as stand-alone processes but the challenge is to understand their interactions with and impacts and feedbacks on other processes. Uncertainty in the parameterization of small-scale processes continues to be among the greatest challenges facing climate modelling, particularly in high latitudes. Further improvements in parameterization require new year-round field campaigns on the Arctic sea ice, closely combined with satellite remote sensing studies and numerical model experiments.
Please read the corrigendum first before accessing the article.

Citation: Vihma, T., Pirazzini, R., Fer, I., Renfrew, I. A., Sedlar, J., Tjernström, M., Lüpkes, C., Nygård, T., Notz, D., Weiss, J., Marsan, D., Cheng, B., Birnbaum, G., Gerland, S., Chechin, D., and Gascard, J. C.: Advances in understanding and parameterization of small-scale physical processes in the marine Arctic climate system: a review, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 9403-9450,, 2014.
Publications Copernicus