Sea ice assimilation into a coupled ocean–sea ice model using its adjoint
- 1Institut für Meereskunde, Centrum für Erdsystemforschung und Nachhaltigkeit, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
- 2MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Bremen, Germany
- 3AWI – Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
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.