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Title: Arctic sea ice variability in the context of recent atmospheric circulation trends

Abstract

Sea ice is a sensitive component of the climate system, influenced by conditions in both the atmosphere and ocean. Variations in sea ice may in turn modulate climate by altering the surface albedo; the exchange of heat, moisture, and momentum between the atmosphere and ocean; and the upper ocean stratification in areas of deep water formation. The surface albedo effect is considered to be one of the dominant factors in the poleward amplification of global warming due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations simulated in many climate models. Forty years (1958--97) of reanalysis products and corresponding sea ice concentration data are used to document Arctic sea ice variability and its association with surface air temperature (SAT) and sea level pressure (SLP) throughout the Northern Hemisphere extratropics. The dominant mode of winter (January-March) sea ice variability exhibits out-of-phase fluctuations between the western and eastern North Atlantic, together with a weaker dipole in the North Pacific. The time series of this mode has a high winter-to-winter autocorrelation (0.69) and is dominated by decadal-scale variations and a longer-term trend of diminishing ice cover east of Greenland and increasing ice cover west of Greenland. Associated with the dominant pattern of winter sea ice variability aremore » large-scale changes in SAT and SLP that closely resemble the North Atlantic oscillation. The associated SAT and surface sensible and latent heat flux anomalies are largest over the portions of the marginal sea ice zone in which the trends of ice coverage have been greatest, although the well-documented warming of the northern continental regions is also apparent. the temporal and spatial relationships between the SLP and ice anomaly fields are consistent with the notion that atmospheric circulation anomalies force the sea ice variations. However, there appears to be a local response of the atmospheric circulation to the changing sea ice variations. However, there appears to be a local response of the atmospheric circulation to the changing sea ice cover east of Greenland. Specifically, cyclone frequencies have increased and mean SLPs have decreased over the retracted ice margin in the Greenland Sea, and these changes differ from those associated directly with the North Atlantic oscillation. The dominant mode of sea ice variability in summer (July-September) is more spatially uniform than that in winter. Summer ice extent for the Arctic as a whole has exhibited a nearly monotonic decline (-4% decade{sup {minus}1}) during the past 40 yr. Summer sea ice variations appear to be initiated by atmospheric circulation anomalies over the high Arctic in late spring. Positive ice-albedo feedback may account for the relatively long delay (2--3 months) between the time of atmospheric forcing and the maximum ice response, and it may have served to amplify the summer ice retreat.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (US)
OSTI Identifier:
20020695
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: PBD: 1 Feb 2000; Journal ID: ISSN 0894-8755
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ARCTIC REGIONS; ICE; SEAS; ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION; GREENHOUSE EFFECT; GREENHOUSE GASES; ALBEDO; GREENLAND

Citation Formats

Deser, C, Walsh, J E, and Timlin, M S. Arctic sea ice variability in the context of recent atmospheric circulation trends. United States: N. p., 2000. Web. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<0617:ASIVIT>2.0.CO;2.
Deser, C, Walsh, J E, & Timlin, M S. Arctic sea ice variability in the context of recent atmospheric circulation trends. United States. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<0617:ASIVIT>2.0.CO;2.
Deser, C, Walsh, J E, and Timlin, M S. Tue . "Arctic sea ice variability in the context of recent atmospheric circulation trends". United States. doi:10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<0617:ASIVIT>2.0.CO;2.
@article{osti_20020695,
title = {Arctic sea ice variability in the context of recent atmospheric circulation trends},
author = {Deser, C and Walsh, J E and Timlin, M S},
abstractNote = {Sea ice is a sensitive component of the climate system, influenced by conditions in both the atmosphere and ocean. Variations in sea ice may in turn modulate climate by altering the surface albedo; the exchange of heat, moisture, and momentum between the atmosphere and ocean; and the upper ocean stratification in areas of deep water formation. The surface albedo effect is considered to be one of the dominant factors in the poleward amplification of global warming due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations simulated in many climate models. Forty years (1958--97) of reanalysis products and corresponding sea ice concentration data are used to document Arctic sea ice variability and its association with surface air temperature (SAT) and sea level pressure (SLP) throughout the Northern Hemisphere extratropics. The dominant mode of winter (January-March) sea ice variability exhibits out-of-phase fluctuations between the western and eastern North Atlantic, together with a weaker dipole in the North Pacific. The time series of this mode has a high winter-to-winter autocorrelation (0.69) and is dominated by decadal-scale variations and a longer-term trend of diminishing ice cover east of Greenland and increasing ice cover west of Greenland. Associated with the dominant pattern of winter sea ice variability are large-scale changes in SAT and SLP that closely resemble the North Atlantic oscillation. The associated SAT and surface sensible and latent heat flux anomalies are largest over the portions of the marginal sea ice zone in which the trends of ice coverage have been greatest, although the well-documented warming of the northern continental regions is also apparent. the temporal and spatial relationships between the SLP and ice anomaly fields are consistent with the notion that atmospheric circulation anomalies force the sea ice variations. However, there appears to be a local response of the atmospheric circulation to the changing sea ice variations. However, there appears to be a local response of the atmospheric circulation to the changing sea ice cover east of Greenland. Specifically, cyclone frequencies have increased and mean SLPs have decreased over the retracted ice margin in the Greenland Sea, and these changes differ from those associated directly with the North Atlantic oscillation. The dominant mode of sea ice variability in summer (July-September) is more spatially uniform than that in winter. Summer ice extent for the Arctic as a whole has exhibited a nearly monotonic decline (-4% decade{sup {minus}1}) during the past 40 yr. Summer sea ice variations appear to be initiated by atmospheric circulation anomalies over the high Arctic in late spring. Positive ice-albedo feedback may account for the relatively long delay (2--3 months) between the time of atmospheric forcing and the maximum ice response, and it may have served to amplify the summer ice retreat.},
doi = {10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<0617:ASIVIT>2.0.CO;2},
journal = {Journal of Climate},
issn = {0894-8755},
number = 3,
volume = 13,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {2}
}