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Zampieri Lorenzo; Goessling Helge F; Jung Thomas

Coupled subseasonal forecast systems with dynamical sea ice have the potential of providing important predictive information in polar regions. Here, we evaluate the ability of operational ensemble prediction systems to predict the location of the sea ice edge in Antarctica. Compared to the Arctic, Antarctica shows on average a 30% lower skill, with only one system remaining more skillful than a climatological benchmark up to ∼30 days ahead. Skill tends to be highest in the west Antarctic sector during the early freezing season. Most of the systems tend to overestimate the sea ice edge extent and fail to capture the onset of the melting season. All the forecast systems exhibit large initial errors. We conclude that subseasonal sea ice predictions could provide marginal support for decision‐making only in selected seasons and regions of the Southern Ocean. However, major progress is possible through investments in model development, forecast initialization and calibration.

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