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Model Forecast Skill and Sensitivity to Initial Conditions in the Seasonal Sea Ice OutlookWe explore the skill of predictions of September Arctic sea ice extent from dynamical models participating in the Sea Ice Outlook (SIO). Forecasts submitted in August, at roughly 2 month lead times, are skillful. However, skill is lower in forecasts submitted to SIO, which began in 2008, than in hindcasts (retrospective forecasts) of the last few decades. The multimodel mean SIO predictions offer slightly higher skill than the single-model SIO predictions, but neither beats a damped persistence forecast at longer than 2 month lead times. The models are largely unsuccessful at predicting each other, indicating a large difference in model physics and/or initial conditions. Motivated by this, we perform an initial condition sensitivity experiment with four SIO models, applying a fixed −1 m perturbation to the initial sea ice thickness. The significant range of the response among the models suggests that different model physics make a significant contribution to forecast uncertainty.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E.
(Washington Univ. Seattle, WA, United States)
Cullather, R. I.
(Maryland Univ. College Park, MD, United States)
Wang, W.
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration College Park, MD, United States)
Zhang, J.
(Washington Univ. Seattle, WA, United States)
Bitz, C. M.
(Washington Univ. Seattle, WA, United States)
Date Acquired
December 18, 2015
Publication Date
October 3, 2015
Publication Information
Publication: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 42
Issue: 19
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Arctic Sea
Sea-Ice Outlook

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