D03: Interactions between atmosphere and sea ice in the Arctic

PIs: Annette Rinke, Gunnar Spreen

The central aim of the project is (i) the improvement in understanding of feedback mechanisms between the atmosphere and sea ice–ocean in the Arctic and (ii) a quantification of the individual contributions of atmospheric circulation, Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL) and cloud processes, and sea ice changes to recently observed Arctic climate change. The differences between the observed sea ice retreat and simulation results from state–of–the–art regional coupled climate models will be assessed. Ensemble simulations with the coupled regional atmosphere–sea ice–ocean model of the Arctic climate system HIRHAM–NAOSIM are compared with new satellite–derived sea ice concentration, thickness and snow depth data. One of the main objectives is to realistically simulate the regional patterns of Arctic sea ice loss, changes in sea ice and snow thickness, and sea ice drift patterns. The aim is to identify and quantify the individual external and internal drivers and feedback mechanisms behind these changes. Combined with a comprehensive model evaluation, a series of model sensitivity studies with respect to key processes (sea ice/snow albedo, vertical mixing in the ABL, mixed–phase clouds) will help to quantify and improve the associated regional feedback processes in the model. Furthermore, we will attribute the Arctic Amplification to regional feedback processes arising from non–linear interactions between the atmosphere and sea ice–ocean and to the large–scale atmospheric circulation patterns and synoptic–scale processes including cyclones.

Hypothesis: Regional feedback processes arising from interactions between the atmosphereand sea ice-ocean and changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns are criticalmechanisms for the Arctic Amplification.

In order to test the hypothesis, we will address the following central questions:

  • What are the mechanisms for the rapid Arctic sea ice loss?
  • Which are the involved key regional atmosphere–sea ice feedback mechanisms?
  • How can they appropriately be described in climate models?

Role within (AC)³

  • D03 provides sea-ice data and regional feedback descriptions
  • D03 relies on the data from (AC)³ for process- and climate-oriented evaluation


Dr. Gunnar Spreen

Principal Investigator

University of Bremen
Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP)
Otto-Hahn-Allee 1
28359 Bremen


++49 (0) 421 218 62190



Philip Rostosky


University of Bremen
Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP)
Otto-Hahn-Allee 1
28359 Bremen


++49 (0) 421 218 62173



Dr. Annette Rinke

Principal Investigator

Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam


++49 (0) 331 288 2130



Dr. Wolfgang Dorn


Alfred-Wegener-Insitute Helmhotz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam


++49 (0) 331 288 2164



Prof. Dr. Klaus Dethloff

Corresponding Member

Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam


++49 (0) 331 288 2104





Wendisch, M., A. Macke, A. Ehrlich, C. Lüpkes, M. Mech, D. Chechin, K. Dethloff, C. Barrientos, H. Bozem, M. Brückner, H.-C. Clemen, S. Crewell, T. Donth, R. Dupuy, C. Dusny, K. Ebell, U. Egerer, R. Engelmann, C. Engler, O. Eppers, M. Gehrmann, X. Gong, M. Gottschalk, C. Gourbeyre, H. Griesche, J. Hartmann, M. Hartmann, B. HeinoldA. Herber, H. Herrmann, G. Heygster, P. Hoor, S. Jafariserajehlou, E. Jäkel, E. Järvinen, O. Jourdan, U. Kästner, S. Kecorius, E.M. Knudsen, F. Köllner, J. Kretzschmar, L. Lelli, D. Leroy, M. Maturilli, L. Mei, S. Mertes, G. Mioche, R. Neuber, M. Nicolaus, T. Nomokonova, J. Notholt, M. Palm, M. van Pinxteren, J. Quaas, P. Richter, E. Ruiz-Donoso, M. Schäfer, K. Schmieder, M. Schnaiter, J. Schneider, A. Schwarzenböck, P. Seifert, M.D. Shupe, H. Siebert, G. Spreen, J. Stapf, F. Stratmann, T. Vogl, A. Welti, H. Wex, A. Wiedensohler, M. Zanatta, S. Zeppenfeld, 2019: The Arctic Cloud Puzzle: Using ACLOUD/PASCAL Multi-Platform Observations to Unravel the Role of Clouds and Aerosol Particles in Arctic Amplification, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 100 (5), 841–871, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0072.1

Akperov, M., A. Rinke, and 21 coauthors, 2019: Future projections of cyclone activity in the Arctic for the 21st century from regional climate models (Arctic-CORDEX), submitted to Glob. Planet. Change

Jäkel, E.J. StapfM. WendischM. Nicolaus, W. Dorn, and A. Rinke, 2019: Validation of the sea ice surface albedo scheme of the regional climate model HIRHAM–NAOSIM using aircraft measurements during the ACLOUD/PASCAL campaigns, accepted for publication in The Cryosphere, doi:10.5194/tc-2018-266

Graham, R., P. Itkin , A. Meyer, A. Sundfjord, G. Spreen, L. H. Smedsrud, G. E. Liston, B. Cheng, L. Cohen, D. Divine, I. Fer, A. Fransson, S. Gerland, J. Haapala, S. R. Hudson, A. M. Johansson, J. King, I. Merkouriadi, A. K. Peterson, C. Provost, A. Randelhoff, A. Rinke, A. Rösel, N. Sennéchael, V. P. Walden, P. Duarte, P. Assmy, H. Steen, and M. A. Granskog, 2019: Winter storms accelerate the demise of sea ice in the Atlantic Sector of the Arctic Ocean, accepted for publication in Scientific Reports

Graham, R., L. Cohen, N. Ritzhaupt, B. Segger, R. Graversen, A. Rinke, V.P. Walden, M.A. Granskog, S.R. Hudson, 2019: Evaluation of six atmospheric reanalyses over Arctic sea ice from winter to early spring, accepted for publication in J. Clim., doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0643.1

Semenov, A., X. Zhang, A. Rinke, W. Dorn, K. Dethloff, 2019: Arctic intense summer storms and their impacts on sea ice – a regional climate modeling study, Atmosphere, 10, 218, doi:10.3390/atmos10040218

Pațilea, C., G. Heygster, M. Huntemann, and G. Spreen, 2019: Combined SMAP/SMOS Thin Sea Ice Thickness Retrieval. The Cryosphere13, 675-691, doi:10.5194/tc-13-675-2019

Fritzner, S., R. Graversen, P. Rostosky, and K. Wang, 2019: Impact of assimilating sea ice concentration, sea ice thickness and snow depth in a coupled ocean-sea ice modeling system. The Cryosphere, 13, 491-509, doi:10.5194/tc-13-491-2019

Rinke, A., E. Knudsen, D. Mewes, W. Dorn, D. Handorf, K. Dethloff, J.C. Moore, 2019: Arctic summer sea-ice melt and related atmospheric conditions in coupled regional climate model simulations, accepted for publication in J. Geophys. Res.

Dethloff, K., D. Handorf, R. Jaiser, A. Rinke, P. Klinghammer, 2019: Dynamical mechanisms of Arctic amplification, Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, 1436, doi:10.1111/nyas.13698


Knudsen, E.M., B. Heinold, S. Dahlke, H. Bozem, S. Crewell, G. Heygster, D. Kunkel, M. Maturilli, A. Rinke, H. Schmithüsen, A. Ehrlich, A. Macke, C. Lüpkes, M. Wendisch, 2018: Overview of the synoptic development during the ACLOUD/PASCAL field campaigns near Svalbard in spring 2017, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 17995-18022, doi:10.5194/acp-18-17995-2018

Dethloff, K., A. Rinke, D. Handorf, R. Jaiser, W. Dorn, A. Sommerfeld, 2018: Regionale und globale Wechselwirkung zwischen arktischem Meereis und der atmosphärischen Zirkulation, promet, 102, 14-20

Dorn, W., A. Rinke, C. Köberle, K. Dethloff, and R. Gerdes, 2018: HIRHAM-NAOSIM 2.0: The upgraded version of the coupled regional atmosphere-ocean-sea ice model for Arctic climate studies, Geosci. Model Dev. Disc.doi:10.5194/gmd-2018-278

Zhou, X., H. Matthes, A. Rinke, B. Huang, K. Yang, and K. Dethloff, 2019: Simulating Arctic 2-m air temperature and its linear trends using the HIRHAM5 regional climate model, Atmospheric Research, 217, 137-149, doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2018.10.022

Julius Eberhard, October 2018: Internal variability of a coupled Arctic regional climate model, Bachelor Thesis, University of Potsdam

Rinke, A., D. Handorf, W. Dorn, K. Dethloff, J.C. Moore, X. Zhang, 2018: Atmospheric feedbacks on Arctic summer sea-ice anomalies in ensemble simulations of a coupled regional climate model, Advances in Polar Science, 29(3), doi:10.13679/j.advps.2018.3.00156

Rostosky, R.G. Spreen, S.L. Farrell, T. Frost, G. Heygster, and C. Melsheimer, 2018: Snow Depth Retrieval on Arctic Sea Ice From Passive Microwave Radiometers—Improvements and Extensions to Multiyear Ice Using Lower Frequencies, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123, 7120–7138, doi:10.1029/2018JC014028

Sato, K., J. Inoue, A. Yamazaki, J.-H. Kim, A. Makshtas, V. Kustov, M. Maturilli, and K. Dethloff , 2018: Impact on predictability of tropical and mid-latitude cyclones by extra Arctic observations, Nature Scientific Reports, 8, 12104, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-30594-4

Lu, J., G. Heygster, and G. Spreen, 2018: Atmospheric Correction of Sea Ice Concentration Retrieval for 89 GHz AMR-E Observations, IEEE JSTARS,  11(5), 1442–1457, 10.1109/JSTARS.2018.2805193

M. Zahn, M. Akperov, A. Rinke, F. Feser, I.I. Mokhov, 2018: Trends of cyclone characteristics in the Arctic and their patterns from different re-analysis data, J. Geophys. Res., 123, 2737-2751, doi:10.1002/2017JD027439

Akperov, A. Rinke, and the Arctic Cordex Team, 2018: Cyclone activity in the Arctic from an ensemble of regional climate models (Arctic CORDEX), J. Geophys. Res., 123, 2537-2554, doi:10.1002/2017JD027703

Itkin, P., G. Spreen, S.M. Hvidegaard, H. Skourup, J. Wilkinson, S. Gerland, and M.A. Granskog, 2018: Contribution of deformation to sea-ice mass balance: a case study from an N-ICE2015 storm, Geophys. Res. Lett.45, 789-796, doi:10.1002/2017GL076056

Rinke, A., M. Maturilli, R.M. Graham, H. Matthes, D. Handorf, L. Cohen, S.R. Hudson, and J.C. Moore, 2017: Extreme cyclone events in the Arctic: Wintertime variability and trends, Envir. Res. Lett., 12, 094006, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa7def

Graham, R. M., L. Cohen, A. A. Petty, L. N. Boisvert, A. Rinke, S. R. Hudson, M. Nicolaus, and M. A. Granskog, 2017: Increasing frequency and duration of Arctic winter warming events, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 6974–6983, doi:10.1002/2017GL073395

Wendisch, M., M. Brückner, J. P. Burrows, S. Crewell, K. Dethloff, K. Ebell, Ch. Lüpkes, A. Macke, J. Notholt, J. Quaas, A. Rinke, and I. Tegen, 2017: Understanding causes and effects of rapid warming in the Arctic. Eos, 98, doi:10.1029/2017EO064803

Graham, R.M., A. Rinke, L. Cohen, S.R. Hudson, V.P. Walden, M.A. Granskog, W. Dorn, M. Kayser, M. Maturilli, 2017: A comparison of the two Arctic atmospheric winter states observed during N‐ICE2015 and SHEBA,  J. Geophys. Res. Atm., 122, 5716-5737, doi:10.1002/2016JD025475

Project Poster