Climate Dynamics

, Volume 44, Issue 5–6, pp 1311–1327 | Cite as

Arctic summer storm track in CMIP3/5 climate models

  • Kazuaki NishiiEmail author
  • Hisashi Nakamura
  • Yvan J. Orsolini


Model performance and future projection of Arctic summertime storm-track activity and associated background states are assessed on the basis of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3)/5 (CMIP5) climate models. Despite some improvement in the CMIP5 models relative to the CMIP3 models, most of the climate models underestimate summertime storm-track activity over the Arctic Ocean compared to six reanalysis data sets as measured locally as the variance of subweekly fluctuations of sea level pressure. Its large inter-model spread (i.e., model-to-model differences) is correlated with that of the intensity of the Beaufort Sea High and the lower-tropospheric westerlies in the Arctic region. Most of the CMIP3/5 models project the enhancement of storm-track activity over the Arctic Ocean off the eastern Siberian and Alaskan coasts, the region called the Arctic Ocean Cyclone Maximum, in association with the strengthening of the westerlies in the warmed climate. A model with stronger enhancement of the storm-track activity tends to accompany stronger land-sea contrast in surface air temperature across the Siberian coast, which reflects greater surface warming over the continent and slower warming over the Arctic Ocean. Other processes, however, may also be likely to contribute to the future changes of the storm-track activity, which gives uncertainty in the projection by multiple climate models. Our analysis suggests that further clarification of those processes that influence storm-track activity over the Arctic is necessary for more reliable future projections of the Arctic climate.


Arctic Cyclone Storm track Climate change Climate model 



KN and HN are supported in part by the Japanese Ministry of Environment through the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund A-1201 and by Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) through a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research in Innovative Areas 2205. KN is supported by MEXT also through the GRENE Arctic Climate Change Research Project. YO is supported by the Norwegian Research Council East Asian DecCen Project (193690). We acknowledge the World Climate Research Program’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank all contributing climate modeling groups. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provided coordination and support for CMIP, and led the development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. We also acknowledge the “Data Integration and Analysis System” Fund (DIAS) for National Key Technology and the Innovative Program of Climate Change Projection for the 21st Century (“Kakushin” program) from MEXT.

Supplementary material

382_2014_2229_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1700 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazuaki Nishii
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hisashi Nakamura
    • 1
  • Yvan J. Orsolini
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Center for Advanced Science and TechnologyUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.NILU - Norwegian Institute for Air ResearchKjellerNorway

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