Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-174
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-174

  08 Jun 2021

08 Jun 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal TC and is expected to appear here in due course.

The influence of snow on sea ice as assessed from simulations of CESM2

Marika M. Holland1, David Clemens-Sewall2, Laura Landrum1, Bonnie Light3, Donald Perovich2, Chris Polashenski2, Madison Smith3, and Melinda Webster4 Marika M. Holland et al.
  • 1Climate and Global Dynamics Lab, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH USA
  • 3Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • 4University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK USA

Abstract. We assess the influence of snow on sea ice in experiments using the Community Earth System Model, version 2 for a pre-industrial and a 2xCO2 climate state. In the pre-industrial climate, we find that increasing simulated snow accumulation on sea ice results in thicker sea ice and a cooler climate in both hemispheres. The sea ice mass budget response differs fundamentally between the two hemispheres. In the Arctic, increasing snow results in a decrease in both sea ice growth and sea ice melt due to the snow’s impact on conductive heat transfer and albedo, respectively. This leads to a reduced amplitude in the annual cycle of ice thickness. In the Antarctic, with increasing snow, ice growth increases due to snow-ice formation and is balanced by larger basal ice melt. In the warmer 2xCO2 climate, the Arctic sea ice sensitivity to snow depth is small and reduced relative to that of the pre-industrial climate. Whereas, in the Antarctic, the sensitivity to snow on sea ice in the 2xCO2 climate is qualitatively similar to the sensitivity in the pre-industrial climate. These results underscore the importance of accurately representing snow accumulation on sea ice in coupled earth system models, due to its impact on a number of competing processes and feedbacks.

Marika M. Holland et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-174', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Marika Holland, 01 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-174', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Marika Holland, 01 Sep 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on tc-2021-174', Anonymous Referee #3, 15 Jul 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Marika Holland, 01 Sep 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-174', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Marika Holland, 01 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-174', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Marika Holland, 01 Sep 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on tc-2021-174', Anonymous Referee #3, 15 Jul 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Marika Holland, 01 Sep 2021

Marika M. Holland et al.

Marika M. Holland et al.

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Short summary
As the most reflective and most insulative natural material, snow has important climate effects. For snow on sea ice, its high reflectivity reduces ice melt. However, its high insulating capacity limits ice growth. These counteracting effects make its net influence on sea ice uncertain. We find that with increasing snow, sea ice in both hemispheres is thicker and more extensive. However, the drivers of this response are different in the two hemispheres due to different climate conditions.