Increasing winter conductive heat transfer in the Arctic sea-ice-covered areas: 1979–2014
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Sea ice is a quite sensitive indicator in response to regional and global climate changes. Based on monthly mean Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS) sea ice thickness fields, we computed the conductive heat flux (CHF) in the Arctic Ocean in the four winter months (November–February) for a long period of 36 years (1979–2014). The calculated results for each month manifest the increasing extension of the domain with high CHF values since 1979 till 2014. In 2014, regions of roughly 90% of the central Arctic Ocean have been dominated by the CHF values larger than 18 W m−2 (November–December) and 12 W m−2 (January–February), especially significant in the shelf seas around the Arctic Ocean. Moreover, the population distribution frequency (PDF) patterns of the CHF with time show gradually peak shifting toward increased CHF values. The spatiotemporal patterns in terms of the trends in sea ice thickness and other three geophysical parameters, surface air temperature (SAT), sea ice thickness (SIT), and CHF, are well coupled. This suggests that the thinner sea ice cover preconditions for the more oceanic heat loss into atmosphere (as suggested by increased CHF values), which probably contributes to warmer atmosphere which in turn in the long run will cause thinner ice cover. This represents a positive feedback mechanism of which the overall effects would amplify the Arctic climate changes.
Key wordsconductive heat flux sea ice Arctic Ocean
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We would like to thank the data providers. PIOMAS sea ice thickness data are provided by the Polar Science Center (PSC) in Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at University of Washington. Snow depth, wind speed, and surface air temperature data are obtained from NCEP/NCAR products.
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