Left: Jean Rabault and Malte Muller (MET-Oslo) on the sea ice. Right: Drifter deployed in an ice floe. Image credit: Malte Muller. Background: Edge of thin level sea ice. Image credit: Andrea Schneider.

Lets take a closer look at objects and films at the sea surface, such as oil slicks or harmful algae blooms. They drift with the ocean currents and a small percentage of the wind speed. The wind speed is usually neglected when it comes to drift models in ice-covered regions. PhD candidate Victor de Aguiar has exciting news to share about a project that he was involved in when working at MET in Bergen during his master studies. 

The marginal ice zone (MIZ) – the transition region between the open ocean and the dense pack ice – is a very dynamic region with a mixture of ice and ocean conditions. Because of its dynamics, it is challenging to make drift predictions. Using novel, low-cost and open-source drifting instruments that were deployed in various ice conditions in the MIZ, Victor and his colleagues tested several material transport models. 

In their paper they present a new drift model in which the wind drift factor is taken into account. By comparing the drift of virtual particles forced by ocean-atmospheric models to the observed trajectories of drifters released in the MIZ north of Svalbard, we show that predictions are improved. Find the paper here.