This paper investigates the long-term impact of sea ice on global climate using a global sea-iceocean general circulation model (OGCM). The sea-ice component involves state-of-the-art dynamics; the ocean component consists of a 3.5 3.5 11 layer primitive-equation model. Depending on the physical description of sea ice, significant changes are detected in the convective activity, in the hydrographic properties and in the thermohaline circulation of the ocean model. Most of these changes originate in the Southern Ocean, emphasizing the crucial role of sea ice in this marginally stably stratified region of the world's oceans. Specifically, if the effect of brine release is neglected, the deep layers of the Southern Ocean warm up considerably; this is associated with a weakening of the Southern Hemisphere overturning cell. The removal of the commonly used salinity enhancement leads to a similar effect. The deep-ocean salinity is almost unaffected in both experiments. Introducing explicit new-ice thickness growth in partially ice-covered gridcells leads to a substantial increase in convective activity, especially in the Southern Ocean, with a concomitant significant cooling and salinification of the deep ocean. Possible mechanisms for the resulting interactions between sea-ice processes and deep-ocean characteristics are suggested.