Climate Dynamics

, Volume 43, Issue 9–10, pp 2813–2829 | Cite as

Ensemble of sea ice initial conditions for interannual climate predictions

  • Virginie GuemasEmail author
  • Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes
  • Kristian Mogensen
  • Sarah Keeley
  • Yongming Tang


Polar climate studies are severely hampered by the sparseness of the sea ice observations. We aim at filling this critical gap by producing two 5-member sea ice historical simulations strongly constrained by ocean and atmosphere observational data and covering the 1958–2006 and 1979–2012 periods. This is the first multi-member sea ice reconstruction covering more than 50 years. The obtained sea ice conditions are in reasonable agreement with the few available observations. These best estimates of sea ice conditions serve subsequently as initial sea ice conditions for a set of 28 3-year-long retrospective climate predictions. We compare it to a set in which the sea ice initial conditions are taken from a single-member sea ice historical simulation constrained by atmosphere observations only. We find an improved skill in predicting the Arctic sea ice area and Arctic near surface temperature but a slightly degraded skill in predicting the Antarctic sea ice area. We also obtain a larger spread between the members for the sea ice variables, thus more representative of the forecast error.


Sea ice Arctic Antarctic Climate prediction  Initialization 



The three anonymous reviewers are greatly acknowledged for their contribution to improving the initial manuscript. This work was supported by the EU-funded QWeCI (FP7-ENV-2009-1-243964), CLIM-RUN (FP7-ENV-2010-1-265-192), SPECS (FP7-ENV-2012-308378), the MINECO-funded PICA-ICE (CGL2012-31987) projects and the Catalan Government. Oriol Mula-Valls, Domingo Manubens-Gil and Muhammad Asif are thoroughly acknowledged for the invaluable technical support. The authors thankfully acknowledge the computer resources, technical expertise and assistance provided by the Red Española de Supercomputación (RES).

Supplementary material

382_2014_2095_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1440 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginie Guemas
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kristian Mogensen
    • 4
  • Sarah Keeley
    • 4
  • Yongming Tang
    • 4
  1. 1.Institut Català de Ciències del ClimaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, Groupe d’Etude de l’Atmosphère Météorologique, Météo-FranceCNRS, UMR3589ToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis AvançatBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.European Center for Medium Range Weather ForecastsReadingUK

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