Added value of assimilating springtime Arctic sea ice concentration in summer-fall climate predictions

TitleAdded value of assimilating springtime Arctic sea ice concentration in summer-fall climate predictions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsNavarro J.C.Acosta, García-Serrano J., Lapin V., Ortega P.
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Date Published2022-05-04
PublisherIOP Publishing
Place PublishedBristol, UK

Prediction skill of continental climate in the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes is generally limited throughout the year in dynamical seasonal forecast systems. Such limitations narrow the range of possible applications by different stakeholders. Improving the predictive capacity in these regions has been a challenging task. Sea ice is a central component of the Arctic climate system and a local source of climate predictability, yet its state is often not fully constrained in dynamical forecast systems. Using the EC-Earth3 climate model, we study the added value of assimilating observed Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) on the Northern Hemisphere extratropical climate in retrospective forecasts of summer and fall, initialized every spring over 1992-2019. Predictions in the North Atlantic and Eurasia benefit from better initialization of sea ice in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic in a two-step mechanism. Initially, sea ice influences the central North Atlantic Ocean through an atmospheric bridge that develops in the first forecast weeks, subsequently leading to preserved skill in the sea surface temperatures throughout summer and early fall. Secondly, these long-lasting sea surface temperature improvements provide better surface boundary conditions for the atmosphere and lead to more skillful predictions of circulation and surface climate in the Euro-Atlantic and Asian regions. In addition, our findings suggest that fully coupled ocean-atmosphere-sea ice models are likely necessary to study linkages between Arctic sea ice and midlatitudes, by better representing the interactions and feedbacks between the different components of the climate system.

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Sea Ice
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Work Package: 
WP6 - Applications of iAOS towards Stakeholders