Einar Olason

and 7 more

Amélie Bouchat

and 17 more

As the sea-ice modeling community is shifting to advanced numerical frameworks, developing new sea-ice rheologies, and increasing model spatial resolution, ubiquitous deformation features in the Arctic sea ice are now being resolved by sea-ice models. Initiated at the Forum for Arctic Modelling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS), the Sea Ice Rheology Experiment (SIREx) aims at evaluating current state-of-the-art sea-ice models using existing and new metrics to understand how the simulated deformation fields are affected by different representations of sea-ice physics (rheology) and by model configuration. Part I of the SIREx analysis is concerned with evaluation of the statistical distribution and scaling properties of sea-ice deformation fields from 35 different simulations against those from the RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System (RGPS). For the first time, the Viscous-Plastic (and the Elastic-Viscous-Plastic variant), Elastic-Anisotropic-Plastic, and Maxwell-Elasto-Brittle rheologies are compared in a single study. We find that both plastic and brittle sea-ice rheologies have the potential to reproduce the observed RGPS deformation statistics, including multi-fractality. Model configuration (e.g. numerical convergence, atmospheric forcing, spatial resolution) and physical parameterizations (e.g. ice strength parameters and ice thickness distribution) both have effects as important as the choice of sea-ice rheology on the deformation statistics. It is therefore not straightforward to attribute model performance to a specific rheological framework using current deformation metrics. In light of these results, we further evaluate the statistical properties of simulated Linear Kinematic Features (LKFs) in a SIREx Part II companion paper.

Nils Christian Hutter

and 16 more