The Effect of Excess Snow on Sea Ice in a Global Ice-Ocean Prediction System

Monday, 15 December 2014
Barbara Winter, Stéphane Bélair and Jean-Francois Lemieux, Environment Canada, Dorval, QC, Canada
Snow cover on sea ice acts as a thermal insulator, greatly reducing the upward heat flux from the ocean through the ice, specifically through thin ice. The treatment of snow in the CICE sea ice model does not include the effects of blowing snow, thereby leading to an unrealistically thick snow layer on the ice. We investigate the consequences of this excess snow for the upward heat fluxes throughout the year, and how this impacts forecast accuracy in a global ice-ocean prediction model (GIOPS). First results will be presented, and computationally efficient solutions will be discussed.