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Data from: Ice break-up controls dissipation of wind-waves across Southern Ocean sea ice

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Sea ice inhibits the development of wind‐generated surface gravity waves which are the dominant factor in upper ocean mixing and air‐sea fluxes. In turn, sea ice properties are modified by wave action. Understanding the interaction of ice and waves is important for characterizing both air‐sea interactions and sea ice dynamics. Current leading theory attributes wave attenuation primarily to scattering by ice floes. Here we use new in situ wave measurements to show that attenuation is dominated by dissipation with negligible effect by scattering. Time series of wave height in ice exhibit an "on/off" behavior that is consistent with switching between two states of sea ice; a relatively unbroken state associated with strong damping (off), possibly caused by ice flexure, and very weak attenuation (on) across sea ice that has been broken up by wave action. View this collection on the contributor's website.

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