EGU24-22070, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Pushing the Limits of Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Sea Ice Forecasting with Deep Generative Modelling 

Andrew McDonald1,2, Jonathan Smith2, Peter Yatsyshin3, Tom Andersson4, Ellen Bowler2, Louisa van Zeeland3, Bryn Ubald2, James Byrne2, María Pérez-Ortiz5, Richard E. Turner1, and J. Scott Hosking2,3
Andrew McDonald et al.
  • 1University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
  • 3The Alan Turing Institute, Cambridge, UK
  • 4Google DeepMind
  • 5University College London, UK

Conventional studies of subseasonal-to-seasonal sea ice variability across scales have relied upon computationally expensive physics-based models solving systems of differential equations. IceNet, a deep learning-based sea ice forecasting model under development since 2021, has proven competitive to such state-of-the-art physics-based models, capable of generating daily 25 km resolution forecasts of sea ice concentration across the Arctic and Antarctic at a fraction of the computational cost once trained. Yet, these IceNet forecasts leave room for improvement through three main weaknesses. First, the forecasts exhibit physically unrealistic spatial and temporal blurring characteristic of deep learning methods trained under mean loss objectives. Second, the use of 25 km scale OSISAF data renders local forecasts along coastal regions and in regions surrounding maritime vessels inconclusive. Third, the sole provision of sea ice concentration in forecasts leaves questions about other critical ice properties such as thickness unanswered. We present preliminary results addressing these three challenges, turning to deep generative models to capture forecast uncertainty and improve spatial sharpness; leveraging 3 and 6 km scale AMSR-2 sea ice products to improve spatial resolution; and incorporating auxiliary datasets, chiefly thickness, into the training and inference pipeline to produce multivariate forecasts of sea ice properties beyond simple sea ice concentration. We seek feedback for improvement and hope continued development of IceNet can help answer key scientific questions surrounding the state of sea ice in our changing polar climates.

How to cite: McDonald, A., Smith, J., Yatsyshin, P., Andersson, T., Bowler, E., van Zeeland, L., Ubald, B., Byrne, J., Pérez-Ortiz, M., Turner, R. E., and Hosking, J. S.: Pushing the Limits of Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Sea Ice Forecasting with Deep Generative Modelling , EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-22070,, 2024.