Sea ice action on coastal infrastructures

Sea ice action on coastal infrastructures

Top image: Aerial view of the breakwater at Barryneset in Sveasundet, June 2007. Photo: Lene Kristensen/UNIS. 

PhD candidate Fabrice Caline built a 50 meter long breakwater in Svea to study the action of sea ice on coastal infrastructures. Caline will defend his PhD thesis on December 10 at UNIS.

8 December 2010
Press release from UNIS

The background for Caline’s PhD project is that the Store Norske mining company wants to open a new coal mine in Ispallen, close to the existing mining community Svea, Svalbard. The coal from this mine will need to be transported across a tidal inlet, Sveasundet, which is covered by sea ice several months of the year.

In anticipation of this challenge, Store Norske partly funded a PhD position at UNIS to study the action of the sea ice on a possible causeway across the inlet and, more generally, to better understand the action of sea ice on coastal structures.

Caline designed and supervised the construction of a 50-m-long, 8-m-high and 25-m-wide breakwater (pier) at Barryneset in Sveasundet, where the sea ice period lasts between 4 and 6 months. The breakwater was insulated with 1-ton-heavy sand bags (Geobags) to protect it against erosion.

Map of Svea, Svalbard

Map of Svea, Svalbard. Courtesy of Store Norske Spisbergen Grubekompani.

Thorough documentation through a whole season
Caline installed a cabin at the tip of the breakwater, with a weather- and ground-temperature station and time-lapse cameras. On the sea bed he installed a tide- and wave- measurement instrument.

During a full sea ice season, Caline documented weekly the ice conditions by monitoring tidal ice movements, ice stresses and core sampling to analyze the properties of the coastal ice.

He identified and documented a variety of coastal-ice processes, such as the formation, growth and decay of the ice foot, the tidal movement, and the break-up.

His measurements of the ice strength, elasticity and creep across the coastal zone revealed that the coastal ice was weaker, less stiff and crept less than the free-floating ice.

Fabrice Caline will defend his PhD thesis “Coastal sea ice action on a breakwater in a microtidal inlet in Svalbard” at UNIS on Friday December 10, 2010 at 09:30.

The candidate will give a trial lecture called “Coastal erosion in the Arctic under changing climate” on Thursday December 9, 2010 at 15:00.

Fabrice Caline

Fabrice Caline

About the candidate:
Fabrice Caline was born in 1977 in Versailles, France. He has a civil engineer degree in applied mathematics from École des Ponts Paris Tech, France and a M.Sc. in Geographic Information System (GIS) from L’Ecole Nationale des Sciences Géographiques, France.

He started his PhD studies at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in autumn 2004.

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