Skillful prediction of Barents Sea ice cover
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
Original versionGeophysical Research Letters 2015; 42:5364–5371
A main concern of present climate change is the Arctic sea ice cover. In wintertime, its observed variability is largely carried by the Barents Sea. Here we propose and evaluate a simple quantitative and prognostic framework based on first principles and rooted in observations to predict the annual mean Barents Sea ice cover, which variance is carried by the winter ice (96%). By using observed ocean heat transport and sea ice area, the proposed framework appears skillful and explains 50% of the observed sea ice variance up to 2 years in advance. The qualitative prediction of increase versus decrease in ice cover is correct 88% of the time. Model imperfections can largely be diagnosed from simultaneous meridional winds. The framework and skill are supported by a 60 year simulation from a regional ice-ocean model. We particularly predict that the winter sea ice cover for 2016 will be slightly less than 2015.