Monitoring thin sea ice in the Arctic

Tietsche, Steffen ; Balmaseda, Magdalena ; Zuo, Hao

Année de publication
As part of the new OCEAN5 high-resolution ocean/sea-ice model and data assimilation suite, which was implemented in November 2016, ECMWF now routinely obtains and processes a sea-ice thickness product for thicknesses of up to about 1 metre from the University of Hamburg. This innovative observational product can help ECMWF to improve the representation of Earth system interactions in the Integrated Forecasting System (IFS), in line with the emphasis on Earth system modelling in the Centre’s new ten-year Strategy. The product is based on satellite observations of brightness temperatures from the European Space Agency’s SMOS mission. The sea-ice thickness data derived from it can be compared to the sea-ice analysis produced by OCEAN5, which does not yet assimilate sea-ice thickness observations. This comparison helps to evaluate the performance of OCEAN5 on the one hand and to assess the information content and uncertainties of the observations on the other. First evaluation results show encouraging similarities between observations and the OCEAN5 analysis although there are also some regional discrepancies.

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