ESA CCI Research Fellowship: Luisa von Albedyll

Project: UnrAveling thermodynamiC/dynamiC contribUtions to ARctic seA ice thickness change using mulTiple climate models

Fellowship summary

The Arctic Ocean is undergoing a major transition from a year-round sea ice cover to ice-free summers. As a consequence, the mean thickness of the Arctic sea ice has more than halved in the last six decades. Thinner ice cover has multiple implications for the Arctic climate and ecosystem, making plausible climate model simulations and predictions of Arctic sea ice increasingly central. While multi-year ice vanishes in the Arctic, the rate of thickness and volume decline also appears to have slowed down or even reached an intermediate plateau. This raises the question: Which feedback mechanisms are causing this change?

A comprehensive combination of long-term satellite observations and climate model simulations is needed to understand the interacting climate feedbacks that are enhancing or dampening sea ice thickness loss. The project aims to quantify thermodynamic and dynamic thickness changes using several satellite remote sensing products of the sea ice Essential Climate Variable and a climate model to advance our understanding and predictions of the Arctic sea ice thickness decline. Through this method, the changes in sea ice thickness and its four components, namely thermodynamics, convergence-induced thickening, divergence-induced thinning, and new ice production in leads, are quantified. This approach allows us to produce robust uncertainty estimates, which are particularly important for the model-observation comparison.

Research Fellow: Luisa von Albedyll

Host Institution: Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI Potsdam)