Ice - ocean coupled computations for sea-ice prediction to support ice navigation in Arctic sea routes

  • Liyanarachchi Waruna Arampath De Silva National Institute of Polar Research, The University of Tokyo
  • Hajime Yamaguchi The University of Tokyo
  • Jun Ono Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Keywords: Arctic sea ice, numerical simulation, floe collision, Arctic sea routes


With the recent rapid decrease in summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean extending the navigation period in the Arctic sea routes (ASR), the precise prediction of ice distribution is crucial for safe and efficient navigation in the Arctic Ocean. In general, however, most of the available numerical models have exhibited significant uncertainties in short-term and narrow-area predictions, especially in marginal ice zones such as the ASR. In this study, we predict short-term sea-ice conditions in the ASR by using a mesoscale eddy-resolving ice–ocean coupled model that explicitly treats ice floe collisions in marginal ice zones. First, numerical issues associated with collision rheology in the ice–ocean coupled model (ice–Princeton Ocean Model [POM]) are discussed and resolved. A model for the whole of the Arctic Ocean with a coarser resolution (about 25 km) was developed to investigate the performance of the ice–POM model by examining the reproducibility of seasonal and interannual sea-ice variability. It was found that this coarser resolution model can reproduce seasonal and interannual sea-ice variations compared to observations, but it cannot be used to predict variations over the short-term, such as one to two weeks. Therefore, second, high-resolution (about 2.5 km) regional models were set up along the ASR to investigate the accuracy of short-term sea-ice predictions. High-resolution computations were able to reasonably reproduce the sea-ice extent compared to Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer–Earth Observing System satellite observations because of the improved expression of the ice–albedo feedback process and the ice–eddy interaction process.

Keywords: Arctic sea ice; numerical simulation; floe collision; Arctic sea routes.

(Published: 23 November 2015)

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Citation: Polar Research 2015, 34, 25008,


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How to Cite
De Silva, L. W., Yamaguchi, H., & Ono, J. (2015). Ice - ocean coupled computations for sea-ice prediction to support ice navigation in Arctic sea routes. Polar Research, 34.
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