UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Mark Shortt

Risks to Arctic offshore operations: Consolidation and strength of thick sea ice features

My project focuses on the development of a thermal consolidation and failure model for rafted and ridged sea ice. The model will resolve outstanding problems of the consolidation process including the impact of salt released during freezing and the influx of sea water into a keel. From an engineering perspective, this is important as the degree of consolidation governs the strength of these ice features and ultimately the risk posed to offshore structures in the Arctic area. I am also conducting experiments in UCL's Ice Physics Laboratory to determine the energy for breaking freeze bonds, and the bending strength of floes as a function of the degree of consolidation. 

The model will be validated against field measurements. I am working cooperatively with students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim and the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) as a member of 'Sustainable Arctic Marine and Coastal Technology (SAMCoT)'. We will be working on numerical simulations of sea ice interactions with offshore structures and full scale sea ice properties.