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Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century

Abstract

A hypothesized low-frequency climate signal propagating across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of synchronized climate indices was identified in previous analyses of instrumental and proxy data. The tempo of signal propagation is rationalized in terms of the multidecadal component of Atlantic Ocean variability—the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Through multivariate statistical analysis of an expanded database, we further investigate this hypothesized signal to elucidate propagation dynamics. The Eurasian Arctic Shelf-Sea Region, where sea ice is uniquely exposed to open ocean in the Northern Hemisphere, emerges as a strong contender for generating and sustaining propagation of the hemispheric signal. Ocean-ice-atmosphere coupling spawns a sequence of positive and negative feedbacks that convey persistence and quasi-oscillatory features to the signal. Further stabilizing the system are anomalies of co-varying Pacific-centered atmospheric circulations. Indirectly related to dynamics in the Eurasian Arctic, these anomalies appear to negatively feed back onto the Atlantic‘s freshwater balance. Earth’s rotational rate and other proxies encode traces of this signal as it makes its way across the Northern Hemisphere.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Rayner et al. (2003) record 1871–2000; Rayner et al. (2006) record 1850–2004.

  2. 2.

    Terminology: We refer to stages of a cooling either as the minima of Groups I through IV, or as peak values of Groups -I, -II, -III, and -IV.

  3. 3.

    Winter indices of NAO and AO behave differently from their annual counterparts. In table and figure legends used in this paper, we emphasize the use of winter indices by adding the letter ‘w’: e.g. NAOw and AOw.

  4. 4.

    This is in contrast to AMO in all stadium-wave figures, where AMO is plotted in its negative polarity (ngAMO).

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Acknowledgments

We thank S. Kravtsov for helpful guidance on statistical aspects of this study; Vasily M. Smolyanitsky, who provided data and helpful feedback on our work; and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, which helped clarify the presentation. Judith Curry’s contributions to this paper were supported by a DOE STTR grant.

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Correspondence to Marcia Glaze Wyatt.

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Wyatt, M.G., Curry, J.A. Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century. Clim Dyn 42, 2763–2782 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-1950-2

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Keywords

  • Synchronized network
  • Arctic sea ice
  • Multidecadal variability
  • Climate regime