• Alexander, L. V., and Coauthors, 2006: Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature and precipitation. J. Geophys. Res., 111, D05109, doi:10.1029/2005JD006290.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnes, E. A., 2013: Revisiting the evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in midlatitudes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 47284733, doi:10.1002/grl.50880.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnes, E. A., and L. M. Polvani, 2013: Response of the midlatitude jets, and of their variability, to increased greenhouse gases in the CMIP5 models. J. Climate, 26, 71177135, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00536.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Barnes, E. A., E. Dunn-Sigouin, G. Masato, and T. Woollings, 2014: Exploring recent trends in Northern Hemisphere blocking. Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 638644, doi:10.1002/2013GL058745.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, J., and Coauthors, 2014: Recent Arctic amplification and extreme mid-latitude weather. Nat. Geosc., 7, 627637, doi:10.1038/ngeo2234.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, W. J., and Coauthors, 2011: Development and evaluation of an Earth-System model—HadGEM2. Geophys. Model Dev., 4, 10511075, doi:10.5194/gmd-4-1051-2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deser, C., R. Tomas, M. Alexander, and D. Lawrence, 2010: The seasonal atmospheric response to projected Arctic sea ice loss in the late twenty-first century. J. Climate, 23, 333351, doi:10.1175/2009JCLI3053.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deser, C., R. Tomas, and L. Sun, 2015: The role of ocean–atmosphere coupling in the zonal-mean atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss. J. Climate, 28, 21682186, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00325.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Donat, M. G., and Coauthors, 2013: Updated analyses of temperature and precipitation extreme indices since the beginning of the twentieth century: The HadEX2 dataset. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 20982118, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50150.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fischer, E. M., and R. Knutti, 2014: Heated debate on cold weather. Nat. Climate Change, 4, 537538, doi:10.1038/nclimate2286.

  • Francis, J. A., and S. J. Vavrus, 2012: Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L06801, doi:10.1029/2012GL051000.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gent, P. R., and Coauthors, 2011: The Community Climate System Model version 4. J. Climate, 24, 49734991, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4083.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gerber, F., J. Sedláček, and R. Knutti, 2014: Influence of the western North Atlantic and the Barents Sea on European winter climate. Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 561567, doi:10.1002/2013GL058778.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hassanzadeh, P., Z. Kuang, and B. F. Farrell, 2014: Responses of midlatitude blocks and wave amplitude to changes in the meridional temperature gradient in an idealized dry GCM. Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 52235232, doi:10.1002/2014GL060764.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Honda, M., J. Inoue, and S. Yamane, 2009: Influence of low Arctic sea-ice minima on anomalously cold Eurasian winters. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L08707, doi:10.1029/2008GL037079.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Inoue, J., M. E. Hori, and K. Takaya, 2012: The role of Barents Sea ice in the wintertime cyclone track and emergence of a warm-Arctic cold-Siberian anomaly. J. Climate, 25, 25612568, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00449.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kalnay, E., and Coauthors, 1996: The NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 437471, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1996)077<0437:TNYRP>2.0.CO;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kharin, V. V., F. W. Zwiers, X. Zhang, and G. C. Hegerl, 2007: Change in daily temperature and precipitation extremes in the IPCC ensemble of global coupled model simulations. J. Climate, 20, 14191444, doi:10.1175/JCLI4066.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kharin, V. V., F. W. Zwiers, X. Zhang, and M. Wehner, 2013: Changes in temperature and precipitation extremes in the CMIP5 ensemble. Climatic Change, 119, 345357, doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0705-8.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, J., J. A. Curry, H. Wang, M. Song, and R. M. Horton, 2012: Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 40744079, doi:10.1073/pnas.1114910109.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Masato, G., B. J. Hoskins, and T. Woollings, 2013: Winter and summer Northern Hemisphere blocking in CMIP5 models J. Climate, 26, 70447059, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00466.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mori, M., M. Watanabe, H. Shiogama, J. Inoue, and M. Kimoto, 2014: Robust Arctic sea-ice influence on the frequent Eurasian cold winters in past decades. Nat. Geosci., 7, 869873, doi:10.1038/ngeo2277.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Peings, Y., and G. Magnusdottir, 2014: Response of the wintertime Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation to current and projected Arctic sea ice decline: A numerical study with CAM5. J. Climate, 27, 244264, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00272.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Petoukhov, V., and V. A. Semenov, 2010: A link between reduced Barents-Kara sea ice and cold winter extremes over northern continents. J. Geophys. Res., 115, D21111, doi:10.1029/2009JD013568.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Screen, J. A., 2014: Arctic amplification decreases temperature variance in northern mid- to high-latitudes. Nat. Climate Change, 4, 577582, doi:10.1038/nclimate2268.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Screen, J. A., and I. Simmonds, 2010a: Increasing fall-winter energy loss from the Arctic Ocean and its role in Arctic temperature amplification. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L16707, doi:10.1029/2010GL044136.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Screen, J. A., and I. Simmonds, 2010b: The central role of diminishing sea ice in recent Arctic temperature amplification. Nature, 464, 13341337, doi:10.1038/nature09051.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Screen, J. A., and I. Simmonds, 2013: Exploring links between Arctic amplification and mid-latitude weather. Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 959964, doi:10.1002/grl.50174.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Screen, J. A., I. Simmonds, C. Deser, and R. Tomas, 2013: The atmospheric response to three decades of observed Arctic sea ice loss. J. Climate, 26, 12301248, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00063.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Screen, J. A., I. Simmonds, I. Simmonds, and R. Tomas, 2014: Atmospheric impacts of Arctic sea-ice loss, 1979–2009: Separating forced change from atmospheric internal variability. Climate Dyn., 43, 333344, doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1830-9.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stroeve, J. C., V. Kattsov, A. Barrett, M. Serreze, T. Pavlova, M. Holland, and W. N. Meier, 2012: Trends in Arctic sea ice extent from CMIP5, CMIP3 and observations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L16502, doi:10.1029/2012GL052676.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tang, Q., X. Zhang, X. Yang, and J. A. Francis, 2013: Cold winter extremes in northern continents linked to Arctic sea ice loss. Environ. Res. Lett., 8, 014036, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014036.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, K. E., R. J. Stouffer, and G. A. Meehl, 2012: Overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 93, 485498, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00094.1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vihma, T., 2014: Effects of Arctic sea ice decline on weather and climate: A review. Surv. Geophys., 35, 11751214, doi:10.1007/s10712-014-9284-0.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wallace, J. M., I. M. Held, D. W. Thompson, K. E. Trenberth, and J. Walsh, 2014: Global warming and winter weather. Science, 343, 729730, doi:10.1126/science.343.6172.729.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walsh, J., 2014: Intensified warming of the Arctic: Causes and impacts on middle latitudes. Global Planet. Change, 117, 5263, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2014.03.003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Woollings, T., B. Harvey, and G. Masato, 2014: Arctic warming, atmospheric blocking and cold European winter in CMIP5 models. Environ. Res. Lett., 9, 014002, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/1/014002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yang, S., and J. H. Christensen, 2012: Arctic sea ice reduction and European cold winters in CMIP5 climate change experiments. Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L20707, doi:10.1029/2012GL053338.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 717 373 14
PDF Downloads 436 233 10

Reduced Risk of North American Cold Extremes due to Continued Arctic Sea Ice Loss

View More View Less
  • 1 College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • | 2 Climate and Global Dynamics, National Center for Atmospheric Research,* Boulder, Colorado
Restricted access

Abstract

In early January 2014, an Arctic air outbreak brought extreme cold and heavy snowfall to central and eastern North America, causing widespread disruption and monetary losses. The media extensively reported the cold snap, including debate on whether human-induced climate change was partly responsible. Related to this, one particular hypothesis garnered considerable attention: that rapid Arctic sea ice loss may be increasing the risk of cold extremes in the midlatitudes. Here we use large ensembles of model simulations to explore how the risk of North American daily cold extremes is anticipated to change in the future, in response to increases in greenhouse gases and the component of that response solely due to Arctic sea ice loss. Specifically, we examine the changing probability of daily cold extremes as (un)common as the 7 January 2014 event. Projected increases in greenhouse gases decrease the likelihood of North American cold extremes in the future. Days as cold or colder than 7 January 2014 are still projected to occur in the mid-twenty-first century (2030–49), albeit less frequently than in the late twentieth century (1980–99). However, such events will cease to occur by the late twenty-first century (2080–99), assuming greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Continued Arctic sea ice loss is a major driver of decreased—not increased—North America cold extremes. Projected Arctic sea ice loss alone reduces the odds of such an event by one-quarter to one-third by the mid-twenty-first century, and to zero (or near zero) by the late twenty-first century.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: James A. Screen, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Laver Building, 6th FL., North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QF, United Kingdom, E-mail: j.screen@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

In early January 2014, an Arctic air outbreak brought extreme cold and heavy snowfall to central and eastern North America, causing widespread disruption and monetary losses. The media extensively reported the cold snap, including debate on whether human-induced climate change was partly responsible. Related to this, one particular hypothesis garnered considerable attention: that rapid Arctic sea ice loss may be increasing the risk of cold extremes in the midlatitudes. Here we use large ensembles of model simulations to explore how the risk of North American daily cold extremes is anticipated to change in the future, in response to increases in greenhouse gases and the component of that response solely due to Arctic sea ice loss. Specifically, we examine the changing probability of daily cold extremes as (un)common as the 7 January 2014 event. Projected increases in greenhouse gases decrease the likelihood of North American cold extremes in the future. Days as cold or colder than 7 January 2014 are still projected to occur in the mid-twenty-first century (2030–49), albeit less frequently than in the late twentieth century (1980–99). However, such events will cease to occur by the late twenty-first century (2080–99), assuming greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Continued Arctic sea ice loss is a major driver of decreased—not increased—North America cold extremes. Projected Arctic sea ice loss alone reduces the odds of such an event by one-quarter to one-third by the mid-twenty-first century, and to zero (or near zero) by the late twenty-first century.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: James A. Screen, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Laver Building, 6th FL., North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QF, United Kingdom, E-mail: j.screen@exeter.ac.uk
Save