Naval Research Laboratory
Oceanography Division
Ocean Dynamics and Prediction Branch



Coupled Small-scale Wave-Ice Model

CSWIM™ is a coupled CFD-DEM system for simulating wave-ice interactions in polar marginal ice zones (MIZs). It consists of the non-hydrostatic finite-volume/finite-depth fluid dynamics model NHWAVE (Ma et al., 2012) coupled to the discrete element particle simulator LIGGGHTS (Kloss et al., 2012). The system is best suited to small-scale simulations, representing both waves and ice at resolutions of O(m) in domains of O(1-10 sq km). Simulations are thus more fully grounded in the basic physics of waves and ice, in contrast to larger regional and global ocean models in which both wave and ice effects are generally represented with empirical parametrizations.

System Components

Coupled System Components (click chart for larger image)

The small-scale approach makes it easier to examine basic scientific questions such as the relative importance of inter-floe collisions versus floe fracturing in wave attenuation, how increasingly larger waves affect the composition and floe-size-distribution (FSD) of a given marginal ice zone, and what impact the increasing temperatures and weakening ice will have on the polar ice cover in the future. This coupled wave-ice system provides a more solid grounding and validation for approximations in large-scale models by confirming that the assumptions inherent in their parametrizations are consistent with the relevant small-scale physics.

Test case 1: One Ice Floe in Monochromatic Waves

Test case 2: Reflection and Transmission by Multiple Floes

Test case 3: Waves in Pancake Ice

Related publications:

  • Orzech et al. (2018). A coupled system for investigating the physics of wave-ice interactions. JTECH, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-17-0189.1.
  • Orzech et al. (2016). Incorporating floating surface objects into a fully dispersive surface wave model. Ocean Mod. 102.
  • Ma, G., F. Shi, and J. T. Kirby (2012). Shock-capturing non-hydrostatic model for fully dispersive surface wave processes. Ocean Mod. 43-44, 22-35.
  • Kloss, C., C. Goniva, G. Hager, S. Amberger, and S. Pirker (2012). Models, algorithms and validation for opensource dem and cfd-dem. Progress in Comp. Fluid Dyn., An Int. J., 12(2/3), 140-152.

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