AbstractIn this study, coupled ocean–atmosphere–land–sea ice Earth system model (ESM) simulations driven separately by sea ice albedo reduction and by projected greenhouse-dominated radiative forcing are combined to cleanly isolate the sea ice loss response of the atmospheric circulation. A pattern scaling approach is proposed in which the local multidecadal mean atmospheric response is assumed to be separately proportional to the total sea ice loss and to the total low-latitude ocean surface warming. The proposed approach estimates the response to Arctic sea ice loss with low-latitude ocean temperatures fixed and vice versa. The sea ice response includes a high northern latitude easterly zonal wind response, an equatorward shift of the eddy-driven jet, a weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex, an anticyclonic sea level pressure anomaly over coastal Eurasia, a cyclonic sea level pressure anomaly over the North Pacific, and increased wintertime precipitation over the west coast of North America. Many of these responses are opposed by the response to low-latitude surface warming with sea ice fixed. However, both sea ice loss and low-latitude surface warming act in concert to reduce subseasonal temperature variability throughout the middle and high latitudes. The responses are similar in two related versions of the National Center for Atmospheric Research Earth system models, apart from the stratospheric polar vortex response. Evidence is presented that internal variability can easily contaminate the estimates if not enough independent climate states are used to construct them.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 29, 2017
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