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Mitchell Bushuk, Michael Winton, F. Alexander Haumann, Thomas Delworth, Feiyu Lu, Yongfei Zhang, Liwei Jia, Liping Zhang, William Cooke, Matthew Harrison, Bill Hurlin, Nathaniel C. Johnson, Sarah Kapnick, Colleen McHugh, Hiroyuki Murakami, Anthony Rosati, Kai-Chih Tseng, Andrew T. Wittenberg, Xiaosong Yang, and Fanrong Zeng

Abstract

Compared to the Arctic, seasonal predictions of Antarctic sea ice have received relatively little attention. In this work, we utilize three coupled dynamical prediction systems developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory to assess the seasonal prediction skill and predictability of Antarctic sea ice. These systems, based on the FLOR, SPEAR_LO, and SPEAR_MED dynamical models, differ in their coupled model components, initialization techniques, atmospheric resolution, and model biases. Using suites of retrospective initialized seasonal predictions spanning 1992–2018, we investigate the role of these factors in determining Antarctic sea ice prediction skill and examine the mechanisms of regional sea ice predictability. We find that each system is capable of skillfully predicting regional Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) with skill that exceeds a persistence forecast. Winter SIE is skillfully predicted 11 months in advance in the Weddell, Amundsen and Bellingshausen, Indian, and West Pacific sectors, whereas winter skill is notably lower in the Ross sector. Zonally advected upper ocean heat content anomalies are found to provide the crucial source of prediction skill for the winter sea ice edge position. The recently-developed SPEAR systems are more skillful than FLOR for summer sea ice predictions, owing to improvements in sea ice concentration and sea ice thickness initialization. Summer Weddell SIE is skillfully predicted up to 9 months in advance in SPEAR_MED, due to the persistence and drift of initialized sea ice thickness anomalies from the previous winter. Overall, these results suggest a promising potential for providing operational Antarctic sea ice predictions on seasonal timescales.

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Suranjana Saha, Shrinivas Moorthi, Hua-Lu Pan, Xingren Wu, Jiande Wang, Sudhir Nadiga, Patrick Tripp, Robert Kistler, John Woollen, David Behringer, Haixia Liu, Diane Stokes, Robert Grumbine, George Gayno, Jun Wang, Yu-Tai Hou, Hui-ya Chuang, Hann-Ming H. Juang, Joe Sela, Mark Iredell, Russ Treadon, Daryl Kleist, Paul Van Delst, Dennis Keyser, John Derber, Michael Ek, Jesse Meng, Helin Wei, Rongqian Yang, Stephen Lord, Huug van den Dool, Arun Kumar, Wanqiu Wang, Craig Long, Muthuvel Chelliah, Yan Xue, Boyin Huang, Jae-Kyung Schemm, Wesley Ebisuzaki, Roger Lin, Pingping Xie, Mingyue Chen, Shuntai Zhou, Wayne Higgins, Cheng-Zhi Zou, Quanhua Liu, Yong Chen, Yong Han, Lidia Cucurull, Richard W. Reynolds, Glenn Rutledge, and Mitch Goldberg

The NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) was completed for the 31-yr period from 1979 to 2009, in January 2010. The CFSR was designed and executed as a global, high-resolution coupled atmosphere–ocean–land surface–sea ice system to provide the best estimate of the state of these coupled domains over this period. The current CFSR will be extended as an operational, real-time product into the future. New features of the CFSR include 1) coupling of the atmosphere and ocean during the generation of the 6-h guess field, 2) an interactive sea ice model, and 3) assimilation of satellite radiances by the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) scheme over the entire period. The CFSR global atmosphere resolution is ~38 km (T382) with 64 levels extending from the surface to 0.26 hPa. The global ocean's latitudinal spacing is 0.25° at the equator, extending to a global 0.5° beyond the tropics, with 40 levels to a depth of 4737 m. The global land surface model has four soil levels and the global sea ice model has three layers. The CFSR atmospheric model has observed variations in carbon dioxide (CO2) over the 1979–2009 period, together with changes in aerosols and other trace gases and solar variations. Most available in situ and satellite observations were included in the CFSR. Satellite observations were used in radiance form, rather than retrieved values, and were bias corrected with “spin up” runs at full resolution, taking into account variable CO2 concentrations. This procedure enabled the smooth transitions of the climate record resulting from evolutionary changes in the satellite observing system.

CFSR atmospheric, oceanic, and land surface output products are available at an hourly time resolution and a horizontal resolution of 0.5° latitude × 0.5° longitude. The CFSR data will be distributed by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and NCAR. This reanalysis will serve many purposes, including providing the basis for most of the NCEP Climate Prediction Center's operational climate products by defining the mean states of the atmosphere, ocean, land surface, and sea ice over the next 30-yr climate normal (1981–2010); providing initial conditions for historical forecasts that are required to calibrate operational NCEP climate forecasts (from week 2 to 9 months); and providing estimates and diagnoses of the Earth's climate state over the satellite data period for community climate research.

Preliminary analysis of the CFSR output indicates a product that is far superior in most respects to the reanalysis of the mid-1990s. The previous NCEP–NCAR reanalyses have been among the most used NCEP products in history; there is every reason to believe the CFSR will supersede these older products both in scope and quality, because it is higher in time and space resolution, covers the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, and land, and was executed in a coupled mode with a more modern data assimilation system and forecast model.

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