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Spatial Damped Anomaly Persistence of the sea-ice edge as a benchmark for dynamical forecast systems
  • Bimochan Niraula,
  • Helge Goessling
Bimochan Niraula
Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Helge Goessling
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
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Accelerated loss of the sea-ice cover and increased human activities in the Arctic emphasize the need for skillful prediction of sea-ice conditions at sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) time scales. To assess the quality of predictions, dynamical forecast systems can be benchmarked against reference forecasts based on present and past observations of the ice edge. However, the simplest types of reference forecasts –persistence of the present state and climatology– do not exploit the observations optimally and thus lead to an overestimation of forecast skill. For spatial objects such as the ice-edge location, the development of damped-persistence forecasts that combine persistence and climatology in a meaningful way poses a challenge. We have developed a probabilistic reference forecast method that combines the climatologically derived probability of ice presence with initial anomalies of the ice-edge location, both derived from satellite sea-ice concentration data. No other observations, such as sea-surface temperature or sea-ice thickness, are used. We have tested and optimized the method based on minimization of the Spatial Probability Score. The resulting Spatial Damped Anomaly Persistence forecasts clearly outperform both simple persistence and climatology at sub-seasonal timescales. The benchmark is thus about as skilful as the best-performing dynamical forecast system in the S2S database. Despite using only sea-ice concentration observations, the method provides a challenging benchmark to assess the added value of dynamical forecast systems.
Dec 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans volume 126 issue 12. 10.1029/2021JC017784