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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-113
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-113
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: methods for assessment of models 19 Aug 2019

Submitted as: methods for assessment of models | 19 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Using Arctic ice mass balance buoys for evaluation of modelled ice energy fluxes

Alex West1, Mat Collins2, and Ed Blockley1 Alex West et al.
  • 1Met Office Hadley Centre, FitzRoy Road, Exeter EX1 3PB
  • 2Centre for Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Stocker Rd, Exeter EX4 4P

Abstract. Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over recent decades. Models predict that the Arctic will be nearly ice-free by mid-century, but the spread in predictions of sea ice extent is currently large. The reasons for this spread are poorly understood, partly due to a lack of observations with which the processes by which Arctic atmospheric and oceanic forcing affect sea ice state can be examined. In this study, a method of estimating fluxes of top melt, top conduction, basal conduction and ocean heat flux from Arctic ice mass balance buoy elevation and temperature data is presented. The derived fluxes are used to evaluate modelled fluxes from the coupled climate model HadGEM2-ES in two densely sampled regions of the Arctic, the North Pole and Beaufort Sea. The evaluation shows the model to overestimate the magnitude of summer top melting fluxes, and winter conductive fluxes, results which are physically consistent with an independent sea ice and surface energy evaluation of the same model.

Alex West et al.
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Status: open (until 20 Oct 2019)
Status: open (until 20 Oct 2019)
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Alex West et al.
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Latest update: 21 Sep 2019
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Short summary
This study presents a way of estimating energy fluxes within sea ice from ice mass balance buoys (devices measuring ice elevation and temperature). It is shown how the resulting dataset can be used to evaluate a coupled climate model (HadGEM2-ES), with biases in the energy fluxes seen to be consistent with biases in the sea ice state and surface radiation. This method has potential to improve sea ice model evaluation, so as to better understand spread in model simulations of sea ice state.
This study presents a way of estimating energy fluxes within sea ice from ice mass balance buoys...
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