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Arctic mission benefit analysis: Impact of sea ice thickness, freeboard, and snow depth products on sea ice forecast performance

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Haak,  Helmut
Director’s Research Group OES, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Niederdrenk,  Laura
Max Planck Research Group The Sea Ice in the Earth System, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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tc-12-2569-2018.pdf
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Citation

Kaminski, T., Kauker, F., Toudal Pedersen, L., Voßbeck, M., Haak, H., Niederdrenk, L., et al. (2018). Arctic mission benefit analysis: Impact of sea ice thickness, freeboard, and snow depth products on sea ice forecast performance. The Cryosphere, 12, 2569-2594. doi:10.5194/tc-2017-249.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-74F4-8
Abstract
Assimilation of remote sensing products of sea ice thickness (SIT) into sea ice-ocean models has been shown to improve the quality of sea ice forecasts. Open questions are whether the assimilation of rawer products such as radar freeboard (RFB) can achieve yet a better performance and what performance gain can be achieved by the joint assimilation with a snow depth product. The Arctic Mission Benefit Analysis (ArcMBA) system was developed to address this type of question. Using the quantitative network design (QND) approach, the system can evaluate, in a mathematically rigorous fashion, the observational constraints imposed by individual and groups of data products. We present assessments of the observation impact (added value) in terms of the uncertainty reduction in a four-week forecast of sea ice volume (SIV) and snow volume (SNV) for three regions along the Northern Sea Route by a coupled model of the sea ice-ocean system. The assessments cover seven satellite products, three real products and four hypothetical products. The real products are monthly SIT, sea ice freeboard (SIFB), and RFB, all derived from CryoSat-2 by the Alfred Wegener Institute. These are complemented by two hypothetical monthly laser freeboard (LFB) products (one with low accuracy and one with high accuracy), as well as two hypothetical monthly snow depth products (again one with low accuracy and one with high accuracy). On the basis of the per-pixel uncertainty ranges that are provided with the CryoSat-2 SIT, SIFB, and RFB products, the SIT achieves a much better performance for SIV than the SIFB product, while the performance of RFB is more similar to that of SIT. For SNV, the performance of SIT is only low, the performance of SIFB higher and the performance of RFB yet higher. A hypothetical LFB product with low accuracy (20 cm uncertainty) lies in performance between SIFB and RFB for both SIV and SNV. A reduction in the uncertainty of the LFB product to 2 cm yields a significant increase in performance. Combining either of the SIT/freeboard products with a hypothetical snow depth product achieves a significant performance increase. The uncertainty in the snow product matters: A higher accuracy product achieves an extra performance gain. The provision of spatial and temporal uncertainty correlations with the EO products would be beneficial not only for QND assessments, but also for assimilation of the products.