Skillful regional prediction of Arctic sea ice on seasonal timescales

Mitchell Bushuk, Rym Msadek, Michael Winton, Gabriel Andres Vecchi, Rich Gudgel, Anthony Rosati, Xiaosong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Recent Arctic sea ice seasonal prediction efforts and forecast skill assessments have primarily focused on pan-Arctic sea ice extent (SIE). In this work, we move toward stakeholder-relevant spatial scales, investigating the regional forecast skill of Arctic sea ice in a Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) seasonal prediction system. Using a suite of retrospective initialized forecasts spanning 1981–2015 made with a coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice-land model, we show that predictions of detrended regional SIE are skillful at lead times up to 11 months. Regional prediction skill is highly region and target month dependent and generically exceeds the skill of an anomaly persistence forecast. We show for the first time that initializing the ocean subsurface in a seasonal prediction system can yield significant regional skill for winter SIE. Similarly, as suggested by previous work, we find that sea ice thickness initial conditions provide a crucial source of skill for regional summer SIE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4953-4964
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • regional arctic sea ice
  • seasonal prediction


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