Toward Process-resolving Synthesis and Prediction of Arctic Climate Change Using the Regional Arctic System Model

Monday, December 11, 2017 - 08:00
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The Regional Arctic System Model (RASM) has been developed to better understand the operation of Arctic System at process scale and to improve prediction of its change at a spectrum of time scales. RASM is a pan-Arctic, fully coupled ice-ocean-atmosphere-land model with marine biogeochemistry extension to the ocean and sea ice models. The main goal of our research is to advance a system-level understanding of critical processes and feedbacks in the Arctic and their links with the Earth System. The secondary, an equally important objective, is to identify model needs for new or additional observations to better understand such processes and to help constrain models. Finally, RASM has been used to produce sea ice forecasts for September 2016 and 2017, in contribution to the Sea Ice Outlook of the Sea Ice Prediction Network. Future RASM forecasts, are likely to include increased resolution for model components and ecosystem predictions. Such research is in direct support of the US environmental assessment and prediction needs, including those of the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense, and the recent IARPC Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021.

In addition to an overview of RASM technical details, selected model results are presented from a hierarchy of climate models together with available observations in the region to better understand potential oceanic contributions to polar amplification. RASM simulations are analyzed to evaluate model skill in representing seasonal climatology as well as interannual and multi-decadal climate variability and predictions. Selected physical processes and resulting feedbacks are discussed to emphasize the need for fully coupled climate model simulations, high model resolution and sensitivity of simulated sea ice states to scale dependent model parameterizations controlling ice dynamics, thermodynamics and coupling with the atmosphere and ocean.

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