Seasonal sea ice prediction based on regional indices Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. Basic statistical metrics such as autocorrelations and across-region lag correlations of sea ice variations provide benchmarks for the assessments of forecast skill achieved by other methods such as more sophisticated statistical formulations, numerical models, and heuristic approaches. However, the strong negative trend of sea ice coverage in recent decades complicates the evaluation of statistical skill by inflating the correlation of interannual variations of pan-Arctic and regional ice extent. In this study we provide a quantitative evaluation of the contribution of the trend to the predictive skill of monthly and seasonal ice extent on the pan-Arctic and regional scales. We focus on the Beaufort Sea where the Barnett Severity Index provides a metric of historical variations in ice conditions over the summer shipping season. The variance about the trend line differs little among various methods of detrending (piecewise linear, quadratic, cubic, exponential). Application of the piecewise linear trend calculation indicates an acceleration of the trend during the 1990s in most of the Arctic subregions. The Barnett Severity Index as well as September pan-Arctic ice extent show significant statistical predictability out to several seasons when the data include the trend. However, this apparent skill largely vanishes when the data are detrended. No region shows significant correlation with the detrended September pan-Arctic ice extent at lead times greater than a month or two; the concurrent correlations are strongest with the East Siberian Sea. The Beaufort Sea’s ice extent as far back as July explains about 20 % of the variance of the Barnett Severity Index, which is primarily a September metric. The Chukchi Sea is the only other region showing a significant association with the Barnett Severity Index, although only at a lead time of a month or two.;

publication date

  • August 8, 2018

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • June 15, 2021 1:28 AM

Full Author List

  • Walsh JE; Stewart JS; Fetterer F

author count

  • 3

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