Numerical modelling of ice growth and transport on regional scales such as lakes, estuaries, or coastal seas can provide crucial input for the planning and design of offshore structures in arctic, sub-arctic, or even mid-latitude regions. It is in these regions that the total loading of ice on infrastructure such as platforms, sea defense structures, sub-sea pipelines, or wind turbines may exceed the total loading of waves and currents, and may therefore determine the design. Thus, the interaction of ice with planned structures might be significant, and accurate models of ice dynamics would be invaluable to engineering in these regions. There is, however, a general lack of ice models that can be applied to study these complex integral physical processes at regional scales. Typically, ice modelling focusses on either large oceanic scales using climate models, or on local scales to study small-scale ice-structure interactions. The regional scale model presented in this paper is targeted at bridging this scale gap.
This paper describes the implementation of an ice module in Delft3D. Delft3D is a flexible integrated modelling suite, which simulates two- and three-dimensional flow, sediment transport, morphology, waves, spills, water quality, and ecology, and is capable of handling the interactions between these processes. By dynamically coupling an ice module with these existing modules it becomes possible to not only predict the growth, melting, and transport of open-water ice and associated hydrodynamics, but also to study the interaction of ice with, for example, river banks, the seabed, water quality, or spills of fine sediments or oil. This paper presents the major concepts of the new Delft3D ice module, as well as example applications for various lakes in The Netherlands and Fountain Lake, in Minnesota, USA. Finally, a hypothetical case of ice transport modelling is presented.