17 Oct 2022
17 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Modulation of the seasonal cycle of the Antarctic sea ice extent by sea ice processes and feedbacks with the ocean and the atmosphere

Hugues Goosse1, Sofia Allende Contador1, Cecilia M. Bitz2, Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth2, Clare Eayrs3, Thierry Fichefet1, Kenza Himmich4, Pierre-Vincent Huot5, François Klein1, Sylvain Marchi5, François Massonnet1, Bianca Mezzina1, Charles Pelletier6, Lettie A. Roach7,8, Martin Vancoppenolle4, and Nicole P. M. van Lipzig5 Hugues Goosse et al.
  • 1Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
  • 3Center for global Sea Level Change, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • 4Sorbonne Université, Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat (LOCEAN-IPSL), CNRS, IRD, MNHN, Paris, France
  • 5Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • 6European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Bonn, Germany
  • 7NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
  • 8Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Abstract. The seasonal cycle of the Antarctic sea ice extent is strongly asymmetric, with a relatively slow increase after the summer minimum followed by a more rapid decrease after the winter maximum. This cycle is intimately linked to the seasonal cycle of the insolation received at the top of the atmosphere but sea ice processes as well as the exchanges with the atmosphere and ocean may also play a role. To quantify these contributions, a series of idealized sensitivity experiments have been performed with an eddy-permitting (1/4°) NEMO-LIM3 Southern Ocean configuration including a representation of ice shelf cavities, in which the model was either driven by an atmospheric reanalysis or coupled to the COSMO-CLM2 regional atmospheric model. In those experiments, sea ice thermodynamics and dynamics as well as the exchanges with the ocean and atmosphere are strongly perturbed. This is achieved by modifying snow and ice thermal conductivities, the vertical mixing in the ocean top layers, the effect of freshwater uptake/release upon sea ice growth/melt, ice dynamics and surface albedo. We find that the evolution of sea ice extent during the ice advance season is largely independent of the direct effect of the perturbation and appears thus mainly controlled by initial state in summer and subsequent insolation changes. In contrast, the melting rate varies strongly between the experiments during the retreat, in particular if the surface albedo or sea ice transport are modified, demonstrating a strong contribution of those elements to the evolution of ice coverage through spring and summer. As with the advance phase, the retreat is also influenced by conditions at the beginning of the melt season in September. Atmospheric feedbacks enhance the model winter ice extent response to any of the perturbed processes, and the enhancement is strongest when the albedo is modified. The response of sea ice volume and extent to changes in entrainment of subsurface warm waters to the ocean surface is also greatly amplified by the coupling with the atmosphere.

Hugues Goosse et al.

Status: open (until 13 Dec 2022)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-201', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Dec 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2022-201', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Dec 2022 reply

Hugues Goosse et al.

Hugues Goosse et al.


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Short summary
Using idealized sensitivity experiments with a regional atmosphere-ocean-sea ice model, we show that the sea ice advance is constrained by initial conditions in March while the retreat season is influenced by the magnitude of several physical processes, in particular by the ice-albedo feedback and ice transport. Atmospheric feedbacks amplify the response of the winter ice extent to perturbations while some negative feedbacks related to heat conduction fluxes act on the ice volume.