Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
29 Sep 2017
Research article |  | 29 Sep 2017

Sea ice assimilation into a coupled ocean–sea ice model using its adjoint

Nikolay V. Koldunov, Armin Köhl, Nuno Serra, and Detlef Stammer

Abstract. Satellite sea ice concentrations (SICs), together with several ocean parameters, are assimilated into a regional Arctic coupled ocean–sea ice model covering the period of 2000–2008 using the adjoint method. There is substantial improvement in the representation of the SIC spatial distribution, in particular with respect to the position of the ice edge and to the concentrations in the central parts of the Arctic Ocean during summer months. Seasonal cycles of total Arctic sea ice area show an overall improvement. During summer months, values of sea ice extent (SIE) integrated over the model domain become underestimated compared to observations, but absolute differences of mean SIE to the data are reduced in nearly all months and years. Along with the SICs, the sea ice thickness fields also become closer to observations, providing added value by the assimilation. Very sparse ocean data in the Arctic, corresponding to a very small contribution to the cost function, prevent sizable improvements of assimilated ocean variables, with the exception of the sea surface temperature.

Short summary
The paper describes one of the first attempts to use the so-called adjoint data assimilation method to bring Arctic Ocean model simulations closer to observation, especially in terms of the sea ice. It is shown that after assimilation the model bias in simulating the Arctic sea ice is considerably reduced. There is also additional improvement in the sea ice thickens representation that is not assimilated directly.