How to anticipate the way the iceberg will melt in transit?
Hydraulic Simulation: What is Happening Between the Iceberg and its Environment?
The first step consists in simulating the interactions between the iceberg, protected by the skirt, and the natural environment.
Through a series of experiments, and in order to reproduce all the actual conditions that the iceberg will meet in the ocean, we vary the parameters such as the speed and temperature of the sea currents and winds, or even the height and wavelength of the swell.
This is the aim of the hydraulic simulation. The results of this simulation result in precise mapping of the heat exchanges that occur between the iceberg and its environment. This mapping is used in the second stage of simulating the melting of the iceberg: thermal simulation.
Thermal Simulation: How Does the Iceberg Melt?
Thanks to thermal simulation, using SIMULIA software, we can observe the behavior of the iceberg as it melts. We can see that not all portions of the iceberg melt at the same rate: the part above water is not very sensitive to the sun’s rays, due to the highly reflective effect of the pure white ice.
Its sidewalls, on the other hand, at the waterline and under the natural influence of the swell, are the portions that melt the most quickly. This result reinforces the importance of the 12-meter-high floating belt included in Mougin’s system.
Finally, it is above all at the angles, or at the vertical side zones with deep crevices, that the melting is most rapid. This is not surprising: the larger the surface area in contact with the water, the more rapid the rate of melting.
If common sense is sufficient to predict that having a synthetic textile skirt and a cushion of water around an iceberg would slow its melting considerably, the simulations give it scientific proof.