Based on ideas taken from geophysical models, a 2D continuum ice flow model is derived and tested. The model can be used to simulate ice loads on a vessel. The model aims to fill the gap between strictly empirical models excluding load variations and a fully 6D solid bodies approach that is typically too costly for real time simulation and computation of long term statistics. In addition it could be used to obtain the far field solution for use in combination with more detailed models close to the ship.

To guarantee conservation of mass and momentum, a 2D finite volume approach is used as a starting point. Instead of a flux solver, passive tracer particles are used. These include collision handling at the finite volume cell interfaces and with line segments representing any vessel hull. The passive tracer particles carry mass and momentum from one finite volume cell to another. Model extensions for relative current drag and friction can be added on the cell averaged level.

The resulting 2D hybrid continuum model yields promising first results:

  • The computational speed is sufficient to simulate large ice fields (>5km squared, >5,000 ice floes) at more than real time speed.

  • Qualitatively, the ice flow is realistic and the flow properties can be tuned using relatively straightforward parameters.

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