Submitted as: development and technical paper 09 Nov 2020

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 09 Nov 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Sensitivity of Northern Hemisphere climate to ice-ocean interface heat flux parameterizations

Xiaoxu Shi1, Dirk Notz2,3, Jiping Liu4, Hu Yang1, and Gerrit Lohmann1 Xiaoxu Shi et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz center for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Institute for Oceanography, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 4Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, New York, USA

Abstract. We investigate the impact of three different parameterizations of ice-ocean heat exchange on modeled ice thickness, ice concentration, and water masses. These three parameterizations are (1) an ice-bath assumption with the ocean temperature fixed at the freezing temperature, (2) a turbulent heat-flux parameterization with ice-ocean heat exchange depending linearly on the temperature difference between the mixed layer and the ice-ocean interface, and (3) a similar turbulent heat-flux parameterization as (2) but with the temperature at the ice-ocean interface depending on ice-ablation rate. Based on model simulations with the standalone sea-ice model CICE, the ice-ocean model MPIOM and the climate model COSMOS, we find that (3) leads (in comparison to the other two parameterizations) to a thicker modeled sea ice, warmer water beneath high-concentration ice and cooler water towards the ice edge, and higher salinity in the Arctic Ocean mixed layer. Finally, in the fully coupled climate model COSMOS, the most realistic parameterization leads to an enhanced Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), a more positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) mode and a weakened Aleutian Low.

Xiaoxu Shi et al.

Status: open (extended)
Status: open (extended)
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Xiaoxu Shi et al.

Data sets

ice-ocean-heat-flux snapshot Xiaoxu Shi

Model code and software

ice-ocean-heat-flux snapshot Xiaoxu Shi

Xiaoxu Shi et al.


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Short summary
The ice-ocean heat flux is one of the key elements controlling the sea ice changes. It motivates our study which aims to examine the responses of modelled climate to 3 ice-ocean heat flux parameterizations, including 2 old approaches which assume one-way heat transport, and a new one describing a double-diffusive ice-ocean heat exchange. The results show pronounced differences in the modeled sea ice, ocean and atmosphere states for the latter as compared to the former two parameterizations.