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Xiao-Yi Yang and Xiaojun Yuan

Abstract

This study reveals that sea ice in the Barents and Kara Seas plays a crucial role in establishing a new Arctic coupled climate system. The early winter sea ice before 1998 shows double dipole patterns over the Arctic peripheral seas. This pattern, referred to as the early winter quadrupole pattern, exhibits the anticlockwise sequential sea ice anomalies propagation from the Greenland Sea to the Barents–Kara Seas and to the Bering Sea from October to December. This early winter in-phase ice variability contrasts to the out-of-phase relationship in late winter. The mean temperature advection and stationary wave heat flux divergence associated with the atmospheric zonal wave-2 pattern are responsible for the early winter in-phase pattern.

Since the end of the last century, the early winter quadrupole pattern has broken down because of the rapid decline of sea ice extent in the Barents–Kara Seas. This remarkable ice retreat modifies the local ocean–atmosphere heat exchange, forcing an anomalous low air pressure over the Barents–Kara Seas. The subsequent collapse of the atmospheric zonal wave-2 pattern is likely responsible for the breakdown of the early winter sea ice quadrupole pattern after 1998. Therefore, the sea ice anomalies in the Barents–Kara Seas play a key role in establishing new atmosphere–sea ice coupled relationships in the warming Arctic.

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Xiao-Yi Yang, Xiaojun Yuan, and Mingfang Ting

Abstract

The recent accelerated Arctic sea ice decline has been proposed as a possible forcing factor for midlatitude circulation changes, which can be projected onto the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and/or North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) mode. However, the timing and physical mechanisms linking AO responses to the Arctic sea ice forcing are not entirely understood. In this study, the authors suggest a connection between November sea ice extent in the Barents and Kara Seas and the following winter’s atmospheric circulation in terms of the fast sea ice retreat and the subsequent modification of local air–sea heat fluxes. In particular, the dynamical processes that link November sea ice in the Barents and Kara Seas with the development of AO anomalies in February is explored. In response to the lower-tropospheric warming associated with the initial thermal effect of the sea ice loss, the large-scale atmospheric circulation goes through a series of dynamical adjustment processes: The decelerated zonal-mean zonal wind anomalies propagate gradually from the subarctic to midlatitudes in about one month. The equivalent barotropic AO dipole pattern develops in January because of wave–mean flow interaction and firmly establishes itself in February following the weakening and warming of the stratospheric polar vortex. This connection between sea ice loss and the AO mode is robust on time scales ranging from interannual to decadal. Therefore, the recent winter AO weakening and the corresponding midlatitude climate change may be partly associated with the early winter sea ice loss in the Barents and Kara Seas.

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Oleg A. Saenko, Xiao-Yi Yang, Matthew H. England, and Warren G. Lee

Abstract

Subduction, water mass transformation, and transport rates in the Indo-Pacific Ocean are diagnosed in a recent version of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis coupled model. It is found that the subduction across the base of the winter mixed layer is dominated by the lateral transfer, particularly within the relatively dense water classes corresponding to the densest mode and intermediate waters. However, within lighter densities, including those characterizing the lighter varieties of mode waters, the vertical transfer has a strong positive input to the net subduction. The upper-ocean volume transports across 30°N and 32°S are largest within the density classes that correspond to mode waters. In the North Pacific, the buoyancy flux converts the near-surface waters mostly to denser water classes, whereas in the Southern Ocean the surface waters are transformed both to lighter and denser water classes, depending on the density. In response to a doubling of CO2, the subduction, transformation, and transport of mode waters in both hemispheres shift to lighter densities but do not change significantly, whereas the subduction of intermediate waters decreases. The area of large winter mixed layer depths decreases, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. In the low latitudes, the thermocline water flux that enters the tropical Pacific via the western boundary flows generally increases. However, its anomaly has a complex structure, so that integrated estimates can be sensitive to the isopycnal ranges. The upper part of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) strengthens in the warmer climate, whereas its lower part weakens. The anomaly in the EUC closely follows the anomaly in stratification along the equator. The Indonesian Throughflow transport decreases with part of it being redirected eastward. This part joins with the intensified equatorward thermocline flows at the western boundaries and contributes to the EUC anomaly.

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Lin Zhang, Minghu Ding, Tingfeng Dou, Yi Huang, Junmei Lv, and Cunde Xiao

Abstract

Temperature inversion plays an important role in various physical processes by affecting the atmospheric stability, regulating the development of clouds and fog, and controlling the transport of heat and moisture fluxes. In the past few decades, previous studies have analyzed the spatiotemporal variability of Arctic inversions, but few studies have investigated changes in temperature inversions. In this study, the changes in the depth of Arctic inversions in the mid-21st century are projected based on a 30-member ensemble from the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble (CESM-LE) project. The ERA-Interim, JRA-55, and NCEP-NCAR reanalyses were employed to verify the model results. The CESM-LE can adequately reproduce the spatial distribution and trends of present-day inversion depth in the Arctic, and the simulation is better in winter. The mean inversion depth in the CESM-LE is slightly underestimated, and the discrepancy is less than 11 hPa within a reasonable range. The model results show that during the mid-21st century, the inversion depth will strongly decrease in autumn and slightly decrease in winter. The shallowing of inversion is most obvious over the Arctic Ocean, and the maximum decrease is over 65 hPa in the Pacific sector in autumn. In contrast, the largest decrease in the inversion depth, which is more than 45 hPa, occurs over the Barents Sea in winter. Moreover, the area where the inversion shallows is consistent with the area where the sea ice is retreating, indicating that the inversion depth over the Arctic Ocean in autumn and winter is likely regulated by the sea ice extent through modulating surface heat fluxes.

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