AbstractThe NCEP–NCAR composite dataset (comprising sea level pressure, 500hPa geopotential height, 500hPa temperature, and meridional wind stress at 10 m above the surface) is used for compiling a set of climate indices describing the most important physical modes of variability in the Southern Hemisphere (SH), i.e. the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), Semi–Annual Oscillation (SAO), Pacific–South American (PSA) and quasi– stationary Zonal Wavenumber–3 (ZW3) patterns. Compelling evidence indicates that the large increase in the SH sea ice, recorded over recent years, arises from the impact of climate modes and their long–term trends. The examination of variability ranging from seasonal to interdecadal scales, and of trends within the climate patterns and total Antarctic sea ice concentration (SIC) for the 32–yr period (1982–2013) are the key focuses of this paper. Our results indicate that a progressive cooling affected the year–to–year climate of the sub–Antarctic since 1990s. This feature is found in association with increased positive SAM and SAO phases detected in terms of upward annual and seasonal trends (in autumn and summer), and upward decadal trends. In addition, the SIC shows upward annual, spring and summer trends, indicating the insulation of Antarctica from the warmer flows in the midlatitudes. This picture of variations is also found to be consistent with the upward trends detected for the PSA and ZW3 patterns on the annual scale and during the last two decades. Evidence of a more frequent occurrence of the PSA–ZW3 combination could explain, in part, the significant increase of the regional and total Antarctic sea ice coverages.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 3, 2017
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