Impact of ocean and sea ice initialisation on seasonal prediction skill in the Arctic

Kimmritz, M., F. Counillon, L. H. Smedsrud, I. Bethke, N. Keenlyside, F. Ogawa, and Y. Wang:. 2019: Impact of ocean and sea ice initialisation on seasonal prediction skill in the Arctic. JAMES .

Summary:The declining Arctic sea ice entails both risks and opportunities for the Arctic ecosystem, communities, and economic activities. Reliable seasonal predictions of the Arctic sea ice could help to guide decisionmakers to benefit from arising opportunities and to mitigate increased risks in the Arctic. However, despite some success, seasonal prediction systems in the Arctic have not exploited their full potential yet. For instance, so far only a single model component, for example, the ocean, has been updated in isolation to derive a skillful initial state, though joint updates across model components, for example, the ocean and the sea ice, are expected to perform better. Here, we introduce a system that, for the first time, deploys joint updates of the ocean and the sea ice state, using data of the ocean hydrography and sea ice concentration, for seasonal prediction in the Arctic. By comparing this setup with a system that updates only the ocean in isolation, we assess the added skill of facilitating sea ice concentration data to jointly update the ocean and the sea ice. While the update of the ocean alone leads to skillful winter predictions only in the North Atlantic, the joint update strongly enhances the overall skill.

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