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Twin 5-month seasonal forecast experiments are performed to predict the September 2018 mean and minimum ice extent using the fully coupled Navy Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC). In the control run, ensemble forecasts are initialized from the operational US Navy Global Ocean Forecasting System (GOFS) 3.1 but do not assimilate ice thickness data. Another set of forecasts are initialized from the same GOFS 3.1 fields but with sea ice thickness derived from CryoSat-2 (CS2). The Navy ESPC ensemble mean September 2018 minimum sea ice extent initialized with GOFS 3.1 ice thickness was over-predicted by 0.68 M km2 (5.27 M km2) vs the ensemble forecasts initialized with CS2 ice thickness that had an error of 0.40 M km2 (4.99 M km2), a 43% reduction in error. The September mean integrated ice edge error shows a 18% improvement for the Pan-Arctic with the CS2 data vs the control forecasts. Comparison against upward looking sonar ice thickness in the Beaufort Sea reveals a lower bias and RMSE with the CS2 forecasts at all three moorings. Ice concentration at these locations is also improved, but neither set of forecasts show ice free conditions as observed at moorings A and D.
Sea-ice thickness in the Sea of Okhotsk is estimated for 2004–2008 from ICESat derived freeboard under the assumption of hydrostatic balance. Total ice thickness including snow depth (htot) averaged over 2004–2008 is 95 cm. The interannual variability of htot is large; from 77.5 cm (2008) to 110.4 cm (2005). The mode of htot varies from 50–60 cm (2007 and 2008) to 70–80 cm (2005). Ice thickness derived from ICESat data is validated from a comparison with that observed by Electromagnetic Induction Instrument (EM) aboard the icebreaker Soya near Hokkaido, Japan. Annual maps of htot reveal that the spatial distribution of htot is similar every year. Ice volume of 6.3 × 1011 m3 is estimated from the ICESat derived htot and AMSR-E derived ice concentration. A comparison with ice area demonstrates that the ice volume cannot always be represented by the area solely, despite the fact that the area has been used as a proxy of the volume in the Sea of Okhotsk. The ice volume roughly corresponds to that of annual ice production in the major coastal polynyas estimated based on heat budget calculations. This also supports the validity of the estimation of sea-ice thickness and volume using ICESat data.
In October 2003 a campaign on board the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis had the objective to validate standard Aqua Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) sea-ice products. Additionally, the satellite laser altimeter on the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was in operation. To capture the large-scale information on the sea-ice conditions necessary for satellite validation, the measurement strategy was to obtain large-scale sea-ice statistics using extensive sea-ice measurements in a Lagrangian approach. A drifting buoy array, spanning initially 50 km × 100 km, was surveyed during the campaign. In situ measurements consisted of 12 transects, 50–500 m, with detailed snow and ice measurements as well as random snow depth sampling of floes within the buoy array using helicopters. In order to increase the amount of coincident in situ and satellite data an approach has been developed to extrapolate measurements in time and in space. Assuming no change in snow depth and freeboard occurred during the period of the campaign on the floes surveyed, we use buoy ice-drift information as well as daily estimates of thin-ice fraction and rough-ice vs smooth-ice fractions from AMSR-E and QuikSCAT, respectively, to estimate kilometer-scale snow depth and freeboard for other days. the results show that ICESat freeboard estimates have a mean difference of 1.8 cm when compared with the in situ data and a correlation coefficient of 0.6. Furthermore, incorporating ICESat roughness information into the AMSR-E snow depth algorithm significantly improves snow depth retrievals. Snow depth retrievals using a combination of AMSR-E and ICESat data agree with in situ data with a mean difference of 2.3 cm and a correlation coefficient of 0.84 with a negligible bias.
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