The influence of two simple descriptions for the sea ice distribution on boundary layer values is investigated by comparing model results from the regional climate model REMO with measured data in the Fram Strait in April 1999. One method for determining the sea ice distribution in REMO is to diagnose the sea ice cover from the prescribed surface temperature and allow each grid cell to be either completely free of ice or completely covered by ice (REMO-original). The other one is to employ a partial sea ice concentration in each REMO grid cell with the input data derived from satellite data (REMO-partial). Surface fluxes are average values of the ice and water partial fluxes. There is a clearly better agreement between measured and simulated surface and boundary layer temperatures and humidities when using REMO-partial compared to REMO-original. The closed ice cover in REMO-original leads to downward sensible heat fluxes over ice, whereas the ice cover with leads and polynyas in REMO-partial leads to smaller downward or even upward sensible heat fluxes. The introduction of the partial sea ice concentration smoothes unrealistically sharp gradients between ice-covered and ice-free regions. which can influence cloud cover and precipitation. An additional result of the study is that the simulation of the albedo could be improved in allowing a larger range of sea ice albedos and introducing a water albedo dependent on sun zenith angle.