Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx): 1. Scaling and Statistical Properties of Sea-Ice Deformation Fields

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  • As the sea‐ice modeling community is shifting to advanced numerical frameworks, developing new sea‐ice rheologies, and increasing model spatial resolution, ubiquitous deformation features in the Arctic sea ice are now being resolved by sea‐ice models. Initiated at the Forum for Arctic Modeling and Observational Synthesis, the Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx) aims at evaluating state‐of‐the‐art sea‐ice models using existing and new metrics to understand how the simulated deformation fields are affected by different representations of sea‐ice physics (rheology) and by model configuration. Part 1 of the SIREx analysis is concerned with evaluation of the statistical distribution and scaling properties of sea‐ice deformation fields from 35 different simulations against those from the RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System (RGPS). For the first time, the viscous‐plastic (and the elastic‐viscous‐plastic variant), elastic‐anisotropic‐plastic, and Maxwell‐elasto‐brittle rheologies are compared in a single study. We find that both plastic and brittle sea‐ice rheologies have the potential to reproduce the observed RGPS deformation statistics, including multi‐fractality. Model configuration (e.g., numerical convergence, atmospheric representation, spatial resolution) and physical parameterizations (e.g., ice strength parameters and ice thickness distribution) both have effects as important as the choice of sea‐ice rheology on the deformation statistics. It is therefore not straightforward to attribute model performance to a specific rheological framework using current deformation metrics. In light of these results, we further evaluate the statistical properties of simulated Linear Kinematic Features in a SIREx Part 2 companion paper. Plain Language Summary: The ice in the Arctic Ocean is not continuous: it is broken into individual pieces of ice (floes). As the winds and ocean currents continually move these ice floes, they get piled up together or pushed away from each other, forming regions of increased ice thickness (ridges) or regions of open water (leads). These leads and ridges (ice deformations) are important features of the Arctic pack ice because they control the amount of energy that can be exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean. Current climate models cannot simulate individual ice floes and their deformations. Instead, various methods are used to represent the movement and deformation of the Arctic sea‐ice cover. The goal of the Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx) is to compare these different methods and evaluate the ability of a large number of sea‐ice models to reproduce observed sea‐ice deformations from satellite imagery. SIREx is divided in two parts. In Part 1 (this study), we evaluate how the intensity of ice deformations varies in space and time. In Part 2 (companion paper), we track and evaluate the occurrence of specific deformation features. With this work, we show how to improve sea‐ice models for realistic simulations of sea‐ice deformations. Key Points: Power law scaling and multi‐fractality of deformations in space and time can be achieved by both plastic and brittle sea‐ice rheologies Scaling statistics of simulated sea‐ice deformation fields depend on the model configuration and physical parameterizations Finite‐difference plastic models need to be run at higher resolution than observations to agree with the observed deformation statistics

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    © 2022. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
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    • Bouchat, A*; Hutter, N; Chanut, J; Dupont, F; Dukhovskoy, D; Garric, G; 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): 1. Scaling andStatistical Properties of Sea-Ice Deformation Fields. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans. org/10.1029/2021JC017667