Importance of open-water ice growth and ice concentration evolution: a study based on FESOM-ECHAM6
X. Shi and G. Lohmann
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bussestr. 24, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
Received: 13 Oct 2015 – Accepted for review: 20 Oct 2015 – Discussion started: 28 Oct 2015
Abstract. A newly developed global climate model FESOM-ECHAM6 with an unstructured mesh and high resolution is applied to investigate to what degree the area-thickness distribution of new ice formed in open water affects the ice and ocean properties. A sensitivity experiment is performed which reduces the horizontal-to-vertical aspect ratio of open-water ice growth. The resulting decrease in the Arctic winter sea-ice concentration strongly reduces the surface albedo, enhances the ocean heat release to the atmosphere, and increases the sea-ice production. Furthermore, our simulations show a positive feedback mechanism among the Arctic sea ice, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and the surface air temperature in the Arctic, as the sea ice transport affects the freshwater budget in regions of deep water formation. A warming over Europe, Asia and North America, associated with a negative anomaly of Sea Level Pressure (SLP) over the Arctic (positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO)), is also simulated by the model. For the Southern Ocean, the most pronounced change is a warming along the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), especially for the Pacific sector. Additionally, a series of sensitivity tests are performed using an idealized 1-D thermodynamic model to further investigate the influence of the open-water ice growth, which reveals similar results in terms of the change of sea ice and ocean temperature. In reality, the distribution of new ice on open water relies on many uncertain parameters, for example, surface albedo, wind speed and ocean currents. Knowledge of the detailed processes is currently too crude for those processes to be implemented realistically into models. Our sensitivity experiments indicate a pronounced uncertainty related to open-water sea ice growth which could significantly affect the climate system.
Shi, X. and Lohmann, G.: Importance of open-water ice growth and ice concentration evolution: a study based on FESOM-ECHAM6, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 6, 2137-2179, doi:10.5194/esdd-6-2137-2015, 2015.