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Title: Impact of downward longwave radiative deficits on Antarctic sea-ice extent predictability during the sea ice growth period

Forecasting Antarctic atmospheric, oceanic, and sea ice conditions on subseasonal to seasonal scales remains a major challenge. During both the freezing and melting seasons current operational ensemble forecasting systems show a systematic overestimation of the Antarctic sea-ice edge location. The skill of sea ice cover prediction is closely related to the accuracy of cloud representation in models, as the two are strongly coupled by cloud radiative forcing. In particular, surface downward longwave radiation (DLW) deficits appear to be a common shortcoming in atmospheric models over the Southern Ocean. For example, a recent comparison of ECMWF reanalysis 5th generation (ERA5) global reanalysis with the observations from McMurdo Station revealed a year-round deficit in DLW of approximately 50 Wm−2in marine air masses due to model shortages in supercooled cloud liquid water. A comparison with the surface DLW radiation observations from the Ocean Observatories Initiative mooring in the South Pacific at 54.08° S, 89.67° W, for the time period January 2016–November 2018, confirms approximately 20 Wm−2deficit in DLW in ERA5 well north of the sea-ice edge. Using a regional ocean model, we show that when DLW is artificially increased by 50 Wm−2in the simulation driven by ERA5 atmospheric forcing, the predicted sea more » ice growth agrees much better with the observations. A wide variety of sensitivity tests show that the anomalously large, predicted sea-ice extent is not due to limitations in the ocean model and that by implication the cause resides with the atmospheric forcing.

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Award ID(s):
1924388 2149501 1936222
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 084008
IOP Publishing
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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