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  1. The sensitivity of sea ice to fire emissions highlights climate model uncertainty related to the accuracy of prescribed forcings. 
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  3. The magnitude, spectral composition, and variability of the Arctic sea ice surface albedo are key to understanding and numerically simulating Earth’s shortwave energy budget. Spectral and broadband albedos of Arctic sea ice were spatially and temporally sampled by on-ice observers along individual survey lines throughout the sunlit season (April–September, 2020) during the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition. The seasonal evolution of albedo for the MOSAiC year was constructed from spatially averaged broadband albedo values for each line. Specific locations were identified as representative of individual ice surface types, including accumulated dry snow, melting snow, bare and melting ice, melting and refreezing ponded ice, and sediment-laden ice. The area-averaged seasonal progression of total albedo recorded during MOSAiC showed remarkable similarity to that recorded 22 years prior on multiyear sea ice during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) expedition. In accord with these and other previous field efforts, the spectral albedo of relatively thick, snow-free, melting sea ice shows invariance across location, decade, and ice type. In particular, the albedo of snow-free, melting seasonal ice was indistinguishable from that of snow-free, melting second-year ice, suggesting that the highly scattering surface layer that forms on sea ice during the summer is robust and stabilizing. In contrast, the albedo of ponded ice was observed to be highly variable at visible wavelengths. Notable temporal changes in albedo were documented during melt and freeze onset, formation and deepening of melt ponds, and during melt evolution of sediment-laden ice. While model simulations show considerable agreement with the observed seasonal albedo progression, disparities suggest the need to improve how the albedo of both ponded ice and thin, melting ice are simulated. 
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  5. Abstract

    Many modern sea ice models used in global climate models represent the subgrid‐scale heterogeneity in sea ice thickness with an ice thickness distribution (ITD), which improves model realism by representing the significant impact of the high spatial heterogeneity of sea ice thickness on thermodynamic and dynamic processes. Most models default to five thickness categories. However, little has been done to explore the effects of the resolution of this distribution (number of categories) on sea‐ice feedbacks in a coupled model framework and resulting representation of the sea ice mean state. Here, we explore this using sensitivity experiments in CESM2 with the standard 5 ice thickness categories and 15 ice thickness categories. Increasing the resolution of the ITD in a run with preindustrial climate forcing results in substantially thicker Arctic sea ice year‐round. Analyses show that this is a result of the ITD influence on ice strength. With 15 ITD categories, weaker ice occurs for the same average thickness, resulting in a higher fraction of ridged sea ice. In contrast, the higher resolution of thin ice categories results in enhanced heat conduction and bottom growth and leads to only somewhat increased winter Antarctic sea ice volume. The spatial resolution of the ICESat‐2 satellite mission provides a new opportunity to compare model outputs with observations of seasonal evolution of the ITD in the Arctic (ICESat‐2; 2018–2021). Comparisons highlight significant differences from the ITD modeled with both runs over this period, likely pointing to underlying issues contributing to the representation of average thickness.

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  6. Abstract

    Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) has been shown in climate models to reduce some impacts of global warming in the Arctic, including the loss of sea ice, permafrost thaw, and reduction of Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) mass; SAI at high latitudes could preferentially target these impacts. In this study, we use the Community Earth System Model to simulate two Arctic‐focused SAI strategies, which inject at 60°N latitude each spring with injection rates adjusted to either maintain September Arctic sea ice at 2030 levels (“Arctic Low”) or restore it to 2010 levels (“Arctic High”). Both simulations maintain or restore September sea ice to within 10% of their respective targets, reduce permafrost thaw, and increase GrIS surface mass balance by reducing runoff. Arctic High reduces these impacts more effectively than a globally focused SAI strategy that injects similar quantities of SO2at lower latitudes. However, Arctic‐focused SAI is not merely a “reset button” for the Arctic climate, but brings about a novel climate state, including changes to the seasonal cycles of Northern Hemisphere temperature and sea ice and less high‐latitude carbon uptake relative to SSP2‐4.5. Additionally, while Arctic‐focused SAI produces the most cooling near the pole, its effects are not confined to the Arctic, including detectable cooling throughout most of the northern hemisphere for both simulations, increased mid‐latitude sulfur deposition, and a southward shift of the location of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. For these reasons, it would be incorrect to consider Arctic‐focused SAI as “local” geoengineering, even when compared to a globally focused strategy.

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  7. We assess Antarctic sea ice climatology and variability in version 2 of the Community Earth System Model (CESM2), and compare it to that in the older CESM1 and (where appropriate) real-world observations. In CESM2, Antarctic sea ice is thinner and less extensive than in CESM1, though sea ice area is still approximately 1 million km2 greater in CESM2 than in present-day observations. Though there is less Antarctic sea ice in CESM2, the annual cycle of ice growth and melt is more vigorous in CESM2 than in CESM1. A new mushy-layer thermodynamics formulation implemented in the latest version of the Community Ice Code (CICE) in CESM2 accounts for both greater frazil ice forma- tion in coastal polynyas and more snow-to-ice conversion near the edge of the ice pack in the new model. Greater winter ice divergence in CESM2 (relative to CESM1) is due to stronger stationary wave activity and greater wind stress curl over the ice pack. Greater wind stress curl, in turn, drives more warm water upwelling under the ice pack, thinning it and decreasing its extent. Overall, differences between Antarctic sea ice in CESM2 and CESM1 arise due to both differences in their sea ice thermodynamics formulations, and differences in their coupled atmosphere-ocean states. 
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  9. Abstract

    The sea ice component of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) contains new “mushy‐layer” physics that simulates prognostic salinity in the sea ice, with consequent modifications to sea ice thermodynamics and the treatment of melt ponds. The changes to the sea ice model and their influence on coupled model simulations are described here. Two simulations were performed to assess the changes in the vertical thermodynamics formulation with prognostic salinity compared to a constant salinity profile. Inclusion of the mushy layer thermodynamics of Turner et al. (2013, in a fully coupled Earth system model produces thicker and more extensive sea ice in the Arctic, with relatively unchanged sea ice in the Antarctic compared to simulations using a constant salinity profile. While this is consistent with the findings of uncoupled ice‐ocean model studies, the role of the frazil and congelation growth is more important in fully coupled simulations. Melt pond drainage is also an important contribution to simulated ice thickness differences as also found in the uncoupled simulations of Turner and Hunke (2015; However, it is an interaction of the ponds and the snow fraction that impacts the surface albedo and hence the top melt. The changes in the thermodynamics and resulting ice state modify the ice‐ocean‐atmosphere fluxes with impacts on the atmosphere and ocean states, particularly temperature.

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