Toward a Seasonally Ice-Covered Arctic Ocean: Scenarios from the IPCC AR4 Model Simulations

Xiangdong Zhang International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska

Search for other papers by Xiangdong Zhang in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
John E. Walsh International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska

Search for other papers by John E. Walsh in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

The sea ice simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) models for the climate of the twentieth century and for global warming scenarios have been synthesized. A large number of model simulations realistically captured the climatological annual mean, seasonal cycle, and temporal trends of sea ice area over the Northern Hemisphere during 1979–99, although there is considerable scatter among the models. In particular, multimodel ensemble means show promising estimates very close to observations for the late twentieth century. Model projections for the twenty-first century demonstrate the largest sea ice area decreases generally in the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A1B and A2 scenarios compared with the B1 scenario, indicating large multimodel ensemble mean reductions of −3.54 ± 1.66 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A1B, −4.08 ± 1.33 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A2, and −2.22 ± 1.11 × 105 km2 decade−1 in B1. The corresponding percentage reductions are 31.1%, 33.4%, and 21.6% in the last 20 yr of the twenty-first century, relative to 1979–99. Furthermore, multiyear ice coverage decreases rapidly at rates of −3.86 ± 2.07 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A1B, −4.94 ± 1.91 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A2, and −2.67 ± 1.7107 × 105 km2 decade−1 in B1, making major contributions to the total ice reductions. In contrast, seasonal (first year) ice area increases by 1.10 ± 2.46 × 105 km2 decade−1, 1.99 ± 1.47 × 105 km2 decade−1, and 1.05 ± 1.9247 × 105 km2 decade−1 in the same scenarios, leading to decreases of 59.7%, 65.0%, and 45.8% of the multiyear ice area, and increases of 14.1%, 27.8%, and 11.2% of the seasonal ice area in the last 20 yr of this century. Statistical analysis shows that many of the models are consistent in the sea ice change projections among all scenarios. The results include an evaluation of the 99% confidence interval of the model-derived change of sea ice coverage, giving a quantification of uncertainties in estimating sea ice changes based on the participating models. Hence, the seasonal cycle of sea ice area is amplified and an increased large portion of seasonally ice-covered Arctic Ocean is expected at the end of the twenty-first century. The very different changes of multiyear and seasonal ice may have significant implications for the polar energy and hydrological budgets and pathways.

Corresponding author address: Xiangdong Zhang, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775. Email: xdz@iarc.uaf.edu

Abstract

The sea ice simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) models for the climate of the twentieth century and for global warming scenarios have been synthesized. A large number of model simulations realistically captured the climatological annual mean, seasonal cycle, and temporal trends of sea ice area over the Northern Hemisphere during 1979–99, although there is considerable scatter among the models. In particular, multimodel ensemble means show promising estimates very close to observations for the late twentieth century. Model projections for the twenty-first century demonstrate the largest sea ice area decreases generally in the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A1B and A2 scenarios compared with the B1 scenario, indicating large multimodel ensemble mean reductions of −3.54 ± 1.66 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A1B, −4.08 ± 1.33 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A2, and −2.22 ± 1.11 × 105 km2 decade−1 in B1. The corresponding percentage reductions are 31.1%, 33.4%, and 21.6% in the last 20 yr of the twenty-first century, relative to 1979–99. Furthermore, multiyear ice coverage decreases rapidly at rates of −3.86 ± 2.07 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A1B, −4.94 ± 1.91 × 105 km2 decade−1 in A2, and −2.67 ± 1.7107 × 105 km2 decade−1 in B1, making major contributions to the total ice reductions. In contrast, seasonal (first year) ice area increases by 1.10 ± 2.46 × 105 km2 decade−1, 1.99 ± 1.47 × 105 km2 decade−1, and 1.05 ± 1.9247 × 105 km2 decade−1 in the same scenarios, leading to decreases of 59.7%, 65.0%, and 45.8% of the multiyear ice area, and increases of 14.1%, 27.8%, and 11.2% of the seasonal ice area in the last 20 yr of this century. Statistical analysis shows that many of the models are consistent in the sea ice change projections among all scenarios. The results include an evaluation of the 99% confidence interval of the model-derived change of sea ice coverage, giving a quantification of uncertainties in estimating sea ice changes based on the participating models. Hence, the seasonal cycle of sea ice area is amplified and an increased large portion of seasonally ice-covered Arctic Ocean is expected at the end of the twenty-first century. The very different changes of multiyear and seasonal ice may have significant implications for the polar energy and hydrological budgets and pathways.

Corresponding author address: Xiangdong Zhang, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775. Email: xdz@iarc.uaf.edu

Save
  • ACIA, 2004: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: Scientific Report. Cambridge University Press, 144 pp.

  • Bitz, C. M., and W. H. Lipscomb, 1999: An energy-conserving thermodynamic model of sea ice. J. Geophys. Res., 104 , 1566915677.

  • Bitz, C. M., M. M. Holland, A. J. Weaver, and M. Eby, 2001: Simulating the ice-thickness distribution in a coupled climate model. J. Geophys. Res., 106 , 24412464.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cavalieri, D. J., and C. L. Parkinson, 2003: 30-year satellite record reveals contrasting Arctic and Antarctic decadal sea ice variability. Geophys. Res. Lett., 30 .1970, doi:10.1029/2003GL018031.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chapman, W. L., and J. E. Walsh, 1993: Recent variations of sea ice and air temperature in high latitudes. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 74 , 3347.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Comiso, J., 2002: A rapidly declining perennial ice cover in the Arctic. Geophys. Res. Lett., 29 .1956, doi:10.1029/2002GL015650.

  • Hibler III, W. D., 1979: A dynamic thermodynamic sea ice model. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 9 , 815846.

  • Houghton, J. T., Y. Ding, D. J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P. J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C. A. Johnson, 2001: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Cambridge University Press, 881 pp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hunke, E. C., and J. K. Dukowicz, 1997: An elastic–viscous–plastic model for sea ice dynamics. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 27 , 18491867.

  • IPCC, 2001: Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report. Cambridge University Press, 397 pp.

  • Johannessen, O. M., and Coauthors, 2004: Arctic climate change: Observed and modeled temperature and sea-ice variability. Tellus, 56A , 328341.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kwok, R., 2004: Annual cycles of multiyear sea ice coverage of the Arctic Ocean. J. Geophys. Res., 109 .C11004, doi:10.1029/2003JC002238.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lane, D., 2002: Hyperstat, 2e. Atomic Dog Publishing, 236 pp.

  • Madec, G., and M. Imbard, 1996: A global ocean mesh to overcome the North Pole singularity. Climate Dyn., 12 , 381388.

  • Manabe, S., and R. J. Stouffer, 1980: Sensitivity of a global climate model to an increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. J. Geophys. Res., 85 , 55295554.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murray, R. J., 1996: Explicit generation of orthogonal grids for ocean models. J. Comput. Phys., 126 , 251273.

  • Nakicenovic, N., and R. Swart, 2000: Special Report on Emissions Scenarios. Cambridge University Press, 612 pp.

  • Parkinson, C. L., and D. L. Cavalieri, 2002: A 21-year record of Arctic sea-ice extents and their regional, seasonal and monthly variability and trends. Ann. Glaciol., 34 , 441446.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parkinson, C. L., D. L. Cavalieri, P. Gloersen, H. J. Zwally, and J. C. Comiso, 1999: Arctic sea ice extents, areas, and trends, 1978–1996. J. Geophys. Res., 104 , 2083720856.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rayner, N. A., D. E. Parker, E. B. Horton, C. K. Folland, L. V. Alexander, D. P. Rowell, E. C. Kent, and A. Kaplan, 2003: Global analyses of SST, sea ice and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century. J. Geophys. Res., 108 .4407, doi:10.1029/2002JD002670.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rind, D., R. Healy, C. Parkinson, and D. Martinson, 1995: The role of sea ice in 2×CO2 climate model sensitivity. Part I: The total influence of sea ice thickness and extent. J. Climate, 8 , 449463.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rothrock, D. A., Y. Yu, and G. A. Maykut, 1999: Thinning of the arctic sea ice cover. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26 , 34693472.

  • Serreze, M. C., and Coauthors, 2003: A record minimum arctic sea ice extent and area in 2002. Geophys. Res. Lett., 30 .1110, doi:10.1029/2002GL016406.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stroeve, J. C., M. C. Serreze, F. Fetterer, T. Arbetter, W. Meier, J. Maslanik, and K. Knowles, 2005: Tracking the Arctic’s shrinking ice cover: Another extreme September minimum in 2004. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32 .L04501, doi:10.1029/2004GL021810.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thompson, D. W., and J. M. Wallace, 1998: The Arctic Oscillation signature in the winter time geopotential height and temperature fields. Geophys. Res. Lett., 25 , 12971300.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vinnikov, K. Y., and Coauthors, 1999: Global warming and Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent. Science, 286 , 19341937.

  • Wadhams, P., and N. Davis, 2000: Further evidence of the ice thinning in the Arctic Ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett., 27 , 39733975.

  • Zhang, X., M. Ikeda, and J. E. Walsh, 2003: Arctic sea ice and freshwater changes driven by the atmospheric leading mode in a coupled sea ice–ocean model. J. Climate, 16 , 21592177.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 2041 692 49
PDF Downloads 506 143 7