Model-Data Comparison: Hemispheric Sea Ice Area

Watts Up With That?

I discovered this climate model failure a while ago, but haven’t published a post about it because, if I were to compare the modeled and observed sea ice area for each hemisphere, I would need to make too many approximations and assumptions. The reasons: The NSIDC sea ice area data through the KNMI Climate Explorer is presented in millions of square kilometers, while the CMIP5-archived model outputs there are presented in the fraction of sea ice area—assumedly a fraction of the ocean area for the input coordinates.

I decided to take a simpler approach with this post—to show whether the models simulate a gain or loss in each hemisphere.

That is, we know the oceans have been losing sea ice in the Arctic since November 1978, but gaining it around Antarctica. See Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Then there are the oodles of climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive. They’re…

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