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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 16 May 2019

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

Feature-based comparison of sea-ice deformation in lead-resolving sea-ice simulations

Nils Hutter and Martin Losch Nils Hutter and Martin Losch
  • Alfred-Wegener-Institute für Polar-und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. The sea-ice modelling community progresses towards Pan-Arctic simulations that explicitly resolve leads in the simulated sea-ice cover. Evaluating these simulations against observations poses new challenges. A new feature-based evaluation of simulated deformation fields is introduced and the results are compared to a scaling analysis of sea ice deformation. Leads and pressure ridges – here combined into Linear Kinematic Features (LKF) – are detected and tracked automatically from deformation and drift data. LKFs in two Pan-Arctic sea-ice simulations with a horizontal grid spacing of 2 km are compared with an LKF data-set derived from the RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System (RGPS). One simulation uses a 5-class Ice Thickness Distribution (ITD). The simulated sea-ice deformation follows a multi-fractal spatial and temporal scaling as observed from RGPS. The heavy-tailed distribution of LKF lengths and the scale invariance of LKF curvature, which points to the self-similar nature of sea-ice deformation fields, is reproduced by the model. Interannual and seasonal variations of the number of LKFs, LKF densities, and LKF orientations in the ITD simulation are found to be consistent with RGPS observations. The lifetimes and growth rates follow a distribution with an exponential tail. The model overestimates the intersection angle of LKFs, which is attributed to the model's viscous-plastic rheology with an elliptical yield curve. In conclusion, the new feature-based analysis of LKF statistics is found to be useful for a comprehensive evaluation of simulated deformation features, which is required before the simulated features can be used with confidence in the context of climate studies. As such it complements the commonly used scaling analysis and provides new useful information for comparing deformation statistics. The ITD simulation is shown to reproduce LKFs sufficiently well to be used for studying the effect of directly resolved leads in climate simulations. The feature-based analysis of LKFs also identifies specific model deficits that may be address by specific parameterizations, for example, a damage parameter, a grounding scheme, and a Mohr-Coulombic yield curve.

Nils Hutter and Martin Losch
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Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Nils Hutter and Martin Losch
Nils Hutter and Martin Losch
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