In winter 2013, a sea ice breakout in the Beaufort Sea produced
extensive fracturing and contributed to record regional ice export.
Rheinlænder et al. (2022) simulated this event using the neXtSIM sea ice
model, reproducing a realistic progression of lead opening and ice drift
following the track of an anticyclone. In their study, Rheinlænder et
al. (2022) highlighted strong winds and thin ice as key factors for
breakouts. We draw on observational records to provide additional
context for the driving mechanisms of breakout events. We show that wind
direction, rather than speed, was the primary control on patterns of
lead opening and breakout timing in 2013. Records of similar events over
previous decades demonstrate that breakouts are common under
anticyclonic forcing, including during years when the ice was thicker.
These additional events can be used to further validate models such as
neXtSIM and improve predictive capabilities for future breakouts.