The ultimate goal of SPICES is the exploitation of sea-ice observations for the improvement of ensemble coupled prediction systems encompassing different time scales: from medium range to monthly and seasonal. Improved sea ice observations is of high priority for the forecast initialization, model development and forecast evaluation. Lessons learnt with the assimilation of the observations of sea ice will also be used for future regional and global reanalyses of the earth system. The ambition of is to prepare prediction systems to participate in the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP), and more generally, to the goals of Polar Prediction Project.

The improved sea ice observations will be used via innovative data assimilation algorithms to initialize ensembles of coupled forecasts at different time range (medium-range, monthly and seasonal). The use of active sea ice in the medium-range and monthly prediction systems is a significant advance respect the state of the art.

The SPICES research work is carried out with nine Work Packages shown below. Previous results have shown that the combination of data from several satellite sensors enables more accurate extraction of snow and ice information, and even the creation of new sea ice products. This is a common theme in WP’s 1 to 7. In these WP’s the work will be focused on new retrieval methods of snow and ice properties. The model fields provided by sea ice forecasts, or direct forward models, initialized by the surface features can in some cases be integrated in the analysis of snow and ice surface properties. We will also pay special attention to the improved description of summer ice conditions (WP 5).

In the WP 7 the information from WP’s 1-6 is integrated to create an informative description of the sea ice thickness distribution which is then relayed forward to sea ice forecasting (in weekly to seasonal scale) in WP 8.

WP            Name                                Objectives

WP 1

Co-location data on snow and sea ice

Establish a dataset of snow and ice measurements from autonomous platforms and Operation Ice Bridge co-located with all available and relevant satellite and NWP data.

WP 2

Sea ice classification with SAR

Improve operational sea-ice classification from SAR in Arctic and Antarctic for use in seasonal sea ice forecasting and improvement/development of sea ice products from other EO instruments.

WP 3

Sea ice classification with radar altimeter

Produce and validate sea ice classification methods from synthetic radar altimeter data.

WP 4

Large scale sea ice and snow parameters from satellite and NWP data

Derive datasets of ice and snow parameters using satellite IR, scatterometer and microwave radiometer data as well as NWP data.

WP 5

Characterisation of summer time sea ice cover

Quantify sea ice concentration, albedo and melt pond fraction (MPF) of melting sea ice in daily maps based on the combination of satellite passive microwave (1.4 to 90 GHz) and optical sensors.

WP 6

Mapping of thin ice thickness

Generate and validate sea ice thickness datasets for areas of thin ice using PMW and SAR wave spectra satellite data.

WP 7

Sea ice thickness profiles and thickness distribution

To improve the temporal resolution of CryoSat-2 sea-ice thickness fields in the Arctic, including comparisons with data collected by other techniques.

WP 8

Sea ice forecasting from weekly to seasonal scale

This work package on prediction gathers and exploits the work of WP 2 to 7 by using new and improved sea-ice products in the initialization and evaluation of forecasts.

WP 9

Management, coordination and dissemination

The project management is done by the project steering committee (SC) which is chaired by the coordinator. The WP leaders report to SC periodically and to coordinator as needed. Dissemination activities include organization of workshops and other events to foster dialogue with the users of the SPICES results.


June 2017

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