An ensemble of model runs with the COAMPS©
regional model is compared to observations in the central Arctic for August 2001 from the Arctic Ocean Experiment 2001 (AOE-2001). The results are from a 6-km horizontal resolution 2nd, inner, nest of the model while the outermost model domain covers the pan-Arctic region, including the marginal ice zone and some of the land areas around the Arctic Ocean. Sea surface temperature and ice cover were prescribed from satellite data while sea-ice surface properties were modeled with an energy balance model, assuming a constant ice thickness. Five ensemble members were generated by altering the initialization time for the innermost nest, the surface roughness and the turbulent mixing scheme for clouds. The large size of the outer domain means that the model simulations have substantial deviations from the observations at synoptic-scale time scales. Therefore the evaluation focuses on statistical measures, rather than in details of individual ensemble member performance as compared directly to observations. In this context, the ensemble members are surprisingly similar even though details differ significantly. The ensemble average results features two main systematic problems: a consistent temperature bias, with too low temperatures below 2–3 km and slightly high temperatures through the rest of the troposphere, and a significant underestimation of the lowest clouds. In terms of total cloud cover, however, the model produces a realistic result; it is the very lowest clouds that are essentially missing. The temperature bias initially appears to be related to an interaction between clouds and
radiation; the shape of the mean radiative heating-rate profile is very similar to that of the temperature bias. The lack of the lowest clouds could be due to the too low temperatures in conjunction with a cloud scheme that overestimates the transfer of cloud droplets to ice particles that precipitate. The different terms in the surface energy balance as well as the surface stress has only small systematic errors and are surprisingly consistent between the members.