The potential of sea ice leads as a predictor for summer Arctic sea ice extent

Zhang, Yuanyuan; Cheng, Xiao; Liu, Jiping; Hui, Fengming

The Arctic sea ice extent throughout the melt season is closely associated with initial sea ice state in winter and spring. Sea ice leads are important sites of energy fluxes in the Arctic Ocean, which may play an important role in the evolution of Arctic sea ice. In this study, we examine the potential of sea ice leads as a predictor for summer Arctic sea ice extent forecast using a recently developed daily sea ice lead product retrieved from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Our results show that July pan-Arctic sea ice extent can be predicted from the area of sea ice leads integrated from midwinter to late spring, with a prediction error of 0.28 million kminline-formula2 that is smaller than the standard deviation of the observed interannual variability. However, the predictive skills for August and September pan-Arctic sea ice extent are very low. When the area of sea ice leads integrated in the Atlantic and central and west Siberian sector of the Arctic is used, it has a significantly strong relationship (high predictability) with both July and August sea ice extent in the Atlantic and central and west Siberian sector of the Arctic. Thus, the realistic representation of sea ice leads (e.g., the areal coverage) in numerical prediction systems might improve the skill of forecast in the Arctic region.

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Zhang, Yuanyuan / Cheng, Xiao / Liu, Jiping / et al: The potential of sea ice leads as a predictor for summer Arctic sea ice extent. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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