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Lauren Hoffman
,
Matthew R. Mazloff
,
Sarah T. Gille
,
Donata Giglio
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Patrick Heimbach
, and
Kayli Matsuyoshi

Abstract

Physics-based simulations of Arctic sea ice are highly complex, involving transport between different phases, length scales, and time scales. Resultantly, numerical simulations of sea ice dynamics have a high computational cost and model uncertainty. We employ data-driven machine learning (ML) to make predictions of sea ice motion. The ML models are built to predict present-day sea ice velocity given present-day wind velocity and previous-day sea ice concentration and velocity. Models are trained using reanalysis winds and satellite-derived sea ice properties. We compare the predictions of three different models: persistence (PS), linear regression (LR), and a convolutional neural network (CNN). We quantify the spatiotemporal variability of the correlation between observations and the statistical model predictions. Additionally, we analyze model performance in comparison to variability in properties related to ice motion (wind velocity, ice velocity, ice concentration, distance from coast, bathymetric depth) to understand the processes related to decreases in model performance. Results indicate that a CNN makes skillful predictions of daily sea ice velocity with a correlation up to 0.81 between predicted and observed sea ice velocity, while the LR and PS implementations exhibit correlations of 0.78 and 0.69, respectively. The correlation varies spatially and seasonally: lower values occur in shallow coastal regions and during times of minimum sea ice extent. LR parameter analysis indicates that wind velocity plays the largest role in predicting sea ice velocity on 1-day time scales, particularly in the central Arctic. Regions where wind velocity has the largest LR parameter are regions where the CNN has higher predictive skill than the LR.

Significance Statement

We build and evaluate different machine learning (ML) models that make 1-day predictions of Arctic sea ice velocity using present-day wind velocity and previous-day ice concentration and ice velocity. We find that models that incorporate nonlinear relationships between inputs (a neural network) capture important information (i.e., have a higher correlation between observations and predictions than do linear and persistence models). This performance enhancement occurs primarily in deeper regions of the central Arctic where wind speed is the dominant predictor of ice motion. Understanding where these models benefit from increased complexity is important because future work will use ML to elucidate physically meaningful relationships within the data, looking at how the relationship between wind and ice velocity is changing as the ice melts.

Open access
James J. Hack
,
Julie M. Caron
,
G. Danabasoglu
,
Keith W. Oleson
,
Cecilia Bitz
, and
John E. Truesdale

Abstract

The latest version of the Community Climate System Model (CCSM) Community Atmosphere Model version 3 (CAM3) has been released to allow for numerical integration at a variety of horizontal resolutions. One goal of the CAM3 design was to provide comparable large-scale simulation fidelity over a range of horizontal resolutions through modifications to adjustable coefficients in the parameterized treatment of clouds and precipitation. Coefficients are modified to provide similar cloud radiative forcing characteristics for each resolution. Simulations with the CAM3 show robust systematic improvements with higher horizontal resolution for a variety of features, most notably associated with the large-scale dynamical circulation. This paper will focus on simulation differences between the two principal configurations of the CAM3, which differ by a factor of 2 in their horizontal resolution.

Full access
Jennifer E. Kay
,
Marika M. Holland
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth
,
Andrew Gettelman
,
Andrew Conley
, and
David Bailey

Abstract

This study uses coupled climate model experiments to identify the influence of atmospheric physics [Community Atmosphere Model, versions 4 and 5 (CAM4; CAM5)] and ocean model complexity (slab ocean, full-depth ocean) on the equilibrium Arctic climate response to an instantaneous CO2 doubling. In slab ocean model (SOM) experiments using CAM4 and CAM5, local radiative feedbacks, not atmospheric heat flux convergence, are the dominant control on the Arctic surface response to increased greenhouse gas forcing. Equilibrium Arctic surface air temperature warming and amplification are greater in the CAM5 SOM experiment than in the equivalent CAM4 SOM experiment. Larger 2 × CO2 radiative forcing, more positive Arctic surface albedo feedbacks, and less negative Arctic shortwave cloud feedbacks all contribute to greater Arctic surface warming and sea ice loss in CAM5 as compared to CAM4. When CAM4 is coupled to an active full-depth ocean model, Arctic Ocean horizontal heat flux convergence increases in response to the instantaneous CO2 doubling. Though this increased ocean northward heat transport slightly enhances Arctic sea ice extent loss, the representation of atmospheric processes (CAM4 versus CAM5) has a larger influence on the equilibrium Arctic surface climate response than the degree of ocean coupling (slab ocean versus full-depth ocean). These findings underscore that local feedbacks can be more important than northward heat transport for explaining the equilibrium Arctic surface climate response and response differences in coupled climate models. That said, the processes explaining the equilibrium climate response differences here may be different than the processes explaining intermodel spread in transient climate projections.

Full access
Yong-Fei Zhang
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Jeffrey L. Anderson
,
Nancy Collins
,
Jonathan Hendricks
,
Timothy Hoar
,
Kevin Raeder
, and
François Massonnet

Abstract

Simulating Arctic sea ice conditions up to the present and predicting them several months in advance has high stakeholder value, yet remains challenging. Advanced data assimilation (DA) methods combine real observations with model forecasts to produce sea ice reanalyses and accurate initial conditions for sea ice prediction. This study introduces a sea ice DA framework for a sea ice model with a parameterization of the ice thickness distribution by resolving multiple thickness categories. Specifically, the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model, version 5 (CICE5), is integrated with the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART). A series of perfect model observing system simulation experiments (OSSEs) are designed to explore DA algorithms within the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) and the relative importance of different observation types. This study demonstrates that assimilating sea ice concentration (SIC) observations can effectively remove SIC errors, with the error of total Arctic sea ice area reduced by about 60% annually. When the impact of SIC observations is strongly localized in space, the error of total volume is also modestly improved. The largest simulation improvements are produced when sea ice thickness (SIT) and SIC are jointly assimilated, with the error of total volume decreased by more than 70% annually. Assimilating multiyear sea ice concentration (MYI) can reduce error in total volume by more than 50%. Assimilating MYI produces modest improvements in snow depth (errors are reduced by around 16%), while assimilating SIC and SIT has no obvious influence on snow depth. This study also suggests that different observation types may need different localization distances to optimize DA performance.

Full access
Stephen Po-Chedley
,
Kyle C. Armour
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Mark D. Zelinka
,
Benjamin D. Santer
, and
Qiang Fu

Abstract

Sources of intermodel differences in the global lapse rate (LR) and water vapor (WV) feedbacks are assessed using CO2 forcing simulations from 28 general circulation models. Tropical surface warming leads to significant warming and moistening in the tropical and extratropical upper troposphere, signifying a nonlocal, tropical influence on extratropical radiation and feedbacks. Model spread in the locally defined LR and WV feedbacks is pronounced in the Southern Ocean because of large-scale ocean upwelling, which reduces surface warming and decouples the surface from the tropospheric response. The magnitude of local extratropical feedbacks across models and over time is well characterized using the ratio of tropical to extratropical surface warming. It is shown that model differences in locally defined LR and WV feedbacks, particularly over the southern extratropics, drive model variability in the global feedbacks. The cross-model correlation between the global LR and WV feedbacks therefore does not arise from their covariation in the tropics, but rather from the pattern of warming exerting a common control on extratropical feedback responses. Because local feedbacks over the Southern Hemisphere are an important contributor to the global feedback, the partitioning of surface warming between the tropics and the southern extratropics is a key determinant of the spread in the global LR and WV feedbacks. It is also shown that model Antarctic sea ice climatology influences sea ice area changes and southern extratropical surface warming. As a result, model discrepancies in climatological Antarctic sea ice area have a significant impact on the intermodel spread of the global LR and WV feedbacks.

Open access
Keith M. Hines
,
David H. Bromwich
,
Lesheng Bai
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Jordan G. Powers
, and
Kevin W. Manning

Abstract

The Polar Weather Research and Forecasting Model (Polar WRF), a polar-optimized version of the WRF Model, is developed and made available to the community by Ohio State University’s Polar Meteorology Group (PMG) as a code supplement to the WRF release from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). While annual NCAR official releases contain polar modifications, the PMG provides very recent updates to users. PMG supplement versions up to WRF version 3.4 include modified Noah land surface model sea ice representation, allowing the specification of variable sea ice thickness and snow depth over sea ice rather than the default 3-m thickness and 0.05-m snow depth. Starting with WRF V3.5, these options are implemented by NCAR into the standard WRF release. Gridded distributions of Arctic ice thickness and snow depth over sea ice have recently become available. Their impacts are tested with PMG’s WRF V3.5-based Polar WRF in two case studies. First, 20-km-resolution model results for January 1998 are compared with observations during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean project. Polar WRF using analyzed thickness and snow depth fields appears to simulate January 1998 slightly better than WRF without polar settings selected. Sensitivity tests show that the simulated impacts of realistic variability in sea ice thickness and snow depth on near-surface temperature is several degrees. The 40-km resolution simulations of a second case study covering Europe and the Arctic Ocean demonstrate remote impacts of Arctic sea ice thickness on midlatitude synoptic meteorology that develop within 2 weeks during a winter 2012 blocking event.

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David A. Randall
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
A. Scott Denning
,
Peter R. Gent
,
Andrew Gettelman
,
Stephen M. Griffies
,
Peter Lynch
,
Hugh Morrison
,
Robert Pincus
, and
John Thuburn

Abstract

Today’s global Earth system models began as simple regional models of tropospheric weather systems. Over the past century, the physical realism of the models has steadily increased, while the scope of the models has broadened to include the global troposphere and stratosphere, the ocean, the vegetated land surface, and terrestrial ice sheets. This chapter gives an approximately chronological account of the many and profound conceptual and technological advances that made today’s models possible. For brevity, we omit any discussion of the roles of chemistry and biogeochemistry, and terrestrial ice sheets.

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William D. Collins
,
Philip J. Rasch
,
Byron A. Boville
,
James J. Hack
,
James R. McCaa
,
David L. Williamson
,
Bruce P. Briegleb
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
Shian-Jiann Lin
, and
Minghua Zhang

Abstract

A new version of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) has been developed and released to the climate community. CAM Version 3 (CAM3) is an atmospheric general circulation model that includes the Community Land Model (CLM3), an optional slab ocean model, and a thermodynamic sea ice model. The dynamics and physics in CAM3 have been changed substantially compared to implementations in previous versions. CAM3 includes options for Eulerian spectral, semi-Lagrangian, and finite-volume formulations of the dynamical equations. It supports coupled simulations using either finite-volume or Eulerian dynamics through an explicit set of adjustable parameters governing the model time step, cloud parameterizations, and condensation processes. The model includes major modifications to the parameterizations of moist processes, radiation processes, and aerosols. These changes have improved several aspects of the simulated climate, including more realistic tropical tropopause temperatures, boreal winter land surface temperatures, surface insolation, and clear-sky surface radiation in polar regions. The variation of cloud radiative forcing during ENSO events exhibits much better agreement with satellite observations. Despite these improvements, several systematic biases reduce the fidelity of the simulations. These biases include underestimation of tropical variability, errors in tropical oceanic surface fluxes, underestimation of implied ocean heat transport in the Southern Hemisphere, excessive surface stress in the storm tracks, and offsets in the 500-mb height field and the Aleutian low.

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Alexandra Jahn
,
Kara Sterling
,
Marika M. Holland
,
Jennifer E. Kay
,
James A. Maslanik
,
Cecilia M. Bitz
,
David A. Bailey
,
Julienne Stroeve
,
Elizabeth C. Hunke
,
William H. Lipscomb
, and
Daniel A. Pollak

Abstract

To establish how well the new Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) simulates the properties of the Arctic sea ice and ocean, results from six CCSM4 twentieth-century ensemble simulations are compared here with the available data. It is found that the CCSM4 simulations capture most of the important climatological features of the Arctic sea ice and ocean state well, among them the sea ice thickness distribution, fraction of multiyear sea ice, and sea ice edge. The strongest bias exists in the simulated spring-to-fall sea ice motion field, the location of the Beaufort Gyre, and the temperature of the deep Arctic Ocean (below 250 m), which are caused by deficiencies in the simulation of the Arctic sea level pressure field and the lack of deep-water formation on the Arctic shelves. The observed decrease in the sea ice extent and the multiyear ice cover is well captured by the CCSM4. It is important to note, however, that the temporal evolution of the simulated Arctic sea ice cover over the satellite era is strongly influenced by internal variability. For example, while one ensemble member shows an even larger decrease in the sea ice extent over 1981–2005 than that observed, two ensemble members show no statistically significant trend over the same period. It is therefore important to compare the observed sea ice extent trend not just with the ensemble mean or a multimodel ensemble mean, but also with individual ensemble members, because of the strong imprint of internal variability on these relatively short trends.

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Thomas Jung
,
Francisco Doblas-Reyes
,
Helge Goessling
,
Virginie Guemas
,
Cecilia Bitz
,
Carlo Buontempo
,
Rodrigo Caballero
,
Erko Jakobson
,
Johann Jungclaus
,
Michael Karcher
,
Torben Koenigk
,
Daniela Matei
,
James Overland
,
Thomas Spengler
, and
Shuting Yang
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