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Comparison of Mechanisms for Low-Frequency Variability of Summer Arctic Sea Ice in Three Coupled Models

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  • 1 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 2 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

In this study the mechanisms for low-frequency variability of summer Arctic sea ice are analyzed using long control simulations from three coupled models (GFDL CM2.1, GFDL CM3, and NCAR CESM). Despite different Arctic sea ice mean states, there are many robust features in the response of low-frequency summer Arctic sea ice variability to the three key predictors (Atlantic and Pacific oceanic heat transport into the Arctic and the Arctic dipole) across all three models. In all three models, an enhanced Atlantic (Pacific) heat transport into the Arctic induces summer Arctic sea ice decline and surface warming, especially over the Atlantic (Pacific) sector of the Arctic. A positive phase of the Arctic dipole induces summer Arctic sea ice decline and surface warming on the Pacific side, and opposite changes on the Atlantic side. There is robust Bjerknes compensation at low frequency, so the northward atmospheric heat transport provides a negative feedback to summer Arctic sea ice variations. The influence of the Arctic dipole on summer Arctic sea ice extent is more (less) effective in simulations with less (excessive) climatological summer sea ice in the Atlantic sector. The response of Arctic sea ice thickness to the three key predictors is stronger in models that have thicker climatological Arctic sea ice.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dawei Li, daweil@princeton.edu

Abstract

In this study the mechanisms for low-frequency variability of summer Arctic sea ice are analyzed using long control simulations from three coupled models (GFDL CM2.1, GFDL CM3, and NCAR CESM). Despite different Arctic sea ice mean states, there are many robust features in the response of low-frequency summer Arctic sea ice variability to the three key predictors (Atlantic and Pacific oceanic heat transport into the Arctic and the Arctic dipole) across all three models. In all three models, an enhanced Atlantic (Pacific) heat transport into the Arctic induces summer Arctic sea ice decline and surface warming, especially over the Atlantic (Pacific) sector of the Arctic. A positive phase of the Arctic dipole induces summer Arctic sea ice decline and surface warming on the Pacific side, and opposite changes on the Atlantic side. There is robust Bjerknes compensation at low frequency, so the northward atmospheric heat transport provides a negative feedback to summer Arctic sea ice variations. The influence of the Arctic dipole on summer Arctic sea ice extent is more (less) effective in simulations with less (excessive) climatological summer sea ice in the Atlantic sector. The response of Arctic sea ice thickness to the three key predictors is stronger in models that have thicker climatological Arctic sea ice.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dawei Li, daweil@princeton.edu
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