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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-285
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-285
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 02 Dec 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Satellite retrieved sea ice concentration uncertainty and its effect on modelling wave evolution in marginal ice zones

Takehiko Nose1, Takuji Waseda1, Tsubasa Kodaira1, and Jun Inoue2 Takehiko Nose et al.
  • 1Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan
  • 2National Institute of Polar Research, Tachikawa, Japan

Abstract. Satellite retrieved Sea Ice Concentration (SIC) uncertainty is studied with respect to its effect on spectral wave modelling of ice-covered water. Eight SIC products based on four algorithms applied to SSMIS and AMSR2 data were analysed. They were compared with sea-truth images captured from a 12 day fixed Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) transect observation during the November 2018 R/V Mirai expedition in the Chukchi Sea. The analysis shows the refreezing sea ice field is highly variable in time and space, and the uncertainty of SIC estimates is considerable. A wave hindcast experiment for the observation period using these SIC products as model forcing has shown that the SIC uncertainty translates to wave prediction discrepancies in ice cover. There is evidence that bivariate uncertainty data (model significant wave heights and SIC forcing) are correlated, although off-ice wave growth is more complicated due to the cumulative effect of SIC uncertainty and the model implementation of wave-ice interactions along an MIZ fetch. Analysis of significant wave height uncertainty distributions for SIC forcing and wave-ice interaction source terms reveals that they are both sizeable; however, the study concludes the more dominant uncertainty source of modelling wave-ice interactions is the accuracy of satellite retrieved SIC estimates that are used as model forcing.

Takehiko Nose et al.
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Takehiko Nose et al.
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Short summary
Accurate wave modelling in and near ice-covered ocean requires true sea ice concentration mapping of the model region. The information is derived from satellite instruments, but has considerable uncertainty depending on retrieval algorithms. The study shows that the accuracy of satellite retrieved sea ice concentration estimates is a major error source in numerical wave models. A similar feedback effect of sea ice concentration uncertainty can also be speculated to lower atmospheric conditions.
Accurate wave modelling in and near ice-covered ocean requires true sea ice concentration...
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