Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx): 2. Evaluating Linear Kinematic Features in High-Resolution Sea Ice Simulations

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  • Simulating sea ice drift and deformation in the Arctic Ocean is still a challenge because of the multiscale interaction of sea ice floes that compose the Arctic Sea ice cover. The Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx) is a model intercomparison project of the Forum of Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS). In SIREx, skill metrics are designed to evaluate different recently suggested approaches for modeling linear kinematic features (LKFs) to provide guidance for modeling small‐scale deformation. These LKFs are narrow bands of localized deformation that can be observed in satellite images and also form in high resolution sea ice simulations. In this contribution, spatial and temporal properties of LKFs are assessed in 36 simulations of state‐of‐the‐art sea ice models and compared to deformation features derived from the RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System. All simulations produce LKFs, but only very few models realistically simulate at least some statistics of LKF properties such as densities, lengths, or growth rates. All SIREx models overestimate the angle of fracture between conjugate pairs of LKFs and LKF lifetimes pointing to inaccurate model physics. The temporal and spatial resolution of a simulation and the spatial resolution of atmospheric boundary condition affect simulated LKFs as much as the model's sea ice rheology and numerics. Only in very high resolution simulations (≤2 km) the concentration and thickness anomalies along LKFs are large enough to affect air‐ice‐ocean interaction processes. Plain Language Summary: Winds and ocean currents continuously move and deform the sea ice cover of the Arctic Ocean. The deformation eventually breaks an initially closed ice cover into many individual floes, piles up floes, and creates open water. The distribution of ice floes and open water between them is important for climate research, because ice reflects more light and energy back to the atmosphere than open water, so that less ice and more open water leads to warmer oceans. Current climate models cannot simulate sea ice as individual floes. Instead, a variety of methods is used to represent the movement and deformation of the sea ice cover. The Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx) compares these different methods and assesses the deformation of sea ice in 36 numerical simulations. We identify and track deformation features in the ice cover, which are distinct narrow areas where the ice is breaking or piling up. Comparing specific spatial and temporal properties of these features, for example, the different amounts of fractured ice in specific regions, or the duration of individual deformation events, to satellite observations provides information about the realism of the simulations. From this comparison, we can learn how to improve sea ice models for more realistic simulations of sea ice deformation. Key Points: All models simulate linear kinematic features (LKFs), but none accurately reproduces all LKF statistics Resolved LKFs are affected strongest by spatial and temporal resolution of model grid and atmospheric forcing and rheology Accurate scaling of deformation rates is a proxy only for realistic LKF numbers but not for any other LKF static

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    © 2022. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
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    • Hutter, N; Bouchat, A*; Dupont, F; Dukhovskoy, D; Koldunov, N; Lee, Y; Lemieux, J-F; Lique, C; Losch, M; Maslowski, W; Myers, P; Olason, E; Rampal, P; Rasmussen, T; Talandier, C; Tremblay, B; Wang, Q;. (2022). Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx): 2. Evaluating Linear Kinematic Features in High-Resolution Sea Ice Simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans.