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Title: A new state-dependent parameterization for the free drift of sea ice
Abstract. Free-drift estimates of sea ice motion are necessary to produce a seamless observational record combining buoy and satellite-derived sea ice motionvectors. We develop a new parameterization for the free drift of sea ice based on wind forcing, wind turning angle, sea ice state variables(thickness and concentration), and estimates of the ocean currents. Given the fact that the spatial distribution of the wind–ice–ocean transfercoefficient has a similar structure to that of the spatial distribution of sea ice thickness, we take the standard free-drift equation and introducea wind–ice–ocean transfer coefficient that scales linearly with ice thickness. Results show a mean bias error of −0.5 cm s−1(low-speed bias) and a root-mean-square error of 5.1 cm s−1, considering daily buoy drift data as truth. This represents a 35 %reduction of the error on drift speed compared to the free-drift estimates used in the Polar Pathfinder dataset (Tschudi et al., 2019b). Thethickness-dependent transfer coefficient provides an improved seasonality and long-term trend of the sea ice drift speed, with a minimum (maximum)drift speed in May (October), compared to July (January) for the constant transfer coefficient parameterizations which simply follow the peak inmean surface wind stresses. Over the 1979–2019 period, the trend in sea ice drift in this new model is +0.45 cm s−1 per more » decadecompared with +0.39 cm s−1 per decade from the buoy observations, whereas there is essentially no trend in a free-driftparameterization with a constant transfer coefficient (−0.09 cm s−1 per decade) or the Polar Pathfinder free-drift input data(−0.01 cm s−1 per decade). The optimal wind turning angle obtained from a least-squares fitting is 25∘, resulting in a meanerror and a root-mean-square error of +3 and 42∘ on the direction of the drift, respectively. The ocean current estimates obtained from theminimization procedure resolve key large-scale features such as the Beaufort Gyre and Transpolar Drift Stream and are in good agreement with oceanstate estimates from the ECCO, GLORYS, and PIOMAS ice–ocean reanalyses, as well as geostrophic currents from dynamical ocean topography, with aroot-mean-square difference of 2.4, 2.9, 2.6, and 3.8 cm s−1, respectively. Finally, a repeat of the analysis on two sub-sections of thetime series (pre- and post-2000) clearly shows the acceleration of the Beaufort Gyre (particularly along the Alaskan coastline) and an expansion ofthe gyre in the post-2000s, concurrent with a thinning of the sea ice cover and the observed acceleration of the ice drift speed and oceancurrents. This new dataset is publicly available for complementing merged observation-based sea ice drift datasets that include satellite and buoydrift records. « less
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Cryosphere
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
533 to 557
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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