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Predicting regional and pan-Arctic sea ice anomalies with kernel analog forecasting

Comeau, Darin, Giannakis, Dimitrios, Zhao, Zhizhen, Majda, Andrew J.
Climate dynamics 2019 v.52 no.9-10 pp. 5507-5525
basins, climate, climate models, geometry, historical records, ice, prediction, seeds, surface water temperature, winter, Arctic region
Predicting Arctic sea ice extent is a notoriously difficult forecasting problem, even for lead times as short as one month. Motivated by Arctic intraannual variability phenomena such as reemergence of sea surface temperature and sea ice anomalies, we use a prediction approach for sea ice anomalies based on analog forecasting. Traditional analog forecasting relies on identifying a single analog in a historical record, usually by minimizing Euclidean distance, and forming a forecast from the analog’s historical trajectory. Here an ensemble of analogs is used to make forecasts, where the ensemble weights are determined by a dynamics-adapted similarity kernel, which takes into account the nonlinear geometry on the underlying data manifold. We apply this method for forecasting pan-Arctic and regional sea ice area and volume anomalies from multi-century climate model data, and in many cases find improvement over the benchmark damped persistence forecast. Examples of success include the 3–6 month lead time prediction of Arctic sea ice area, the winter sea ice area prediction of some marginal ice zone seas, and the 3–12 month lead time prediction of sea ice volume anomalies in many central Arctic basins. We discuss possible connections between KAF success and sea ice reemergence, and find KAF to be successful in regions and seasons exhibiting high interannual variability.