Assessment of sea ice-atmosphere links in CMIP5 models
- 532 Downloads
The Arctic is currently undergoing drastic changes in climate, largely thought to be due to so-called ‘Arctic amplification’, whereby local feedbacks enhance global warming. Recently, a number of observational and modelling studies have questioned what the implications of this change in Arctic sea ice extent might be for weather in Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes, and in particular whether recent extremely cold winters such as 2009/10 might be consistent with an influence from observed Arctic sea ice decline. However, the proposed mechanisms for these links have not been consistently demonstrated. In a uniquely comprehensive cross-season and cross-model study, we show that the CMIP5 models provide no support for a relationship between declining Arctic sea ice and a negative NAM, or between declining Barents–Kara sea ice and cold European temperatures. The lack of evidence for the proposed links is consistent with studies that report a low signal-to-noise ratio in these relationships. These results imply that, whilst links may exist between declining sea ice and extreme cold weather events in the Northern Hemisphere, the CMIP5 model experiments do not show this to be a leading order effect in the long-term. We argue that this is likely due to a combination of the limitations of the CMIP5 models and an indication of other important long-term influences on Northern Hemisphere climate.
KeywordsSea ice Arctic CMIP5 NAM NAO Barents–Kara sea
We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. The authors were supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, UK. The CMIP5 data were accessed via the British Atmospheric Data Centre.
- Bader J, Mesquita MD, Hodges KI, Keenlyside N, Østerhus S, Miles M (2011) A review on northern hemisphere sea-ice, storminess and the north atlantic oscillation: observations and projected changes. Atmos Res 101(4):809–834. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2011.04.007. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0169809511001001
- Charlton-Perez AJ, Baldwin MP, Birner T, Black RX, Butler AH, Calvo N, Davis NA, Gerber EP, Gillett N, Hardiman S, Kim J, Krüger K, Lee YY, Manzini E, McDaniel BA, Polvani L, Reichler T, Shaw TA, Sigmond M, Son SW, Toohey M, Wilcox L, Yoden S, Christiansen B, Lott F, Shindell D, Yukimoto S, Watanabe S (2013) On the lack of stratospheric dynamical variability in low-top versions of the CMIP5 models. J Geophys Res Atmos 118(6):2494–2505. doi: 10.1002/jgrd.50125 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hanna E, Cropper TE, Jones PD, Scaife A, Allan R (2015) Recent seasonal asymmetric changes in the NAO (a marked summer decline and increased winter variability) and associated changes in the AO and Greenland blocking index. Int J Climatol 35(9):2540–2554. doi: 10.1002/joc.4157 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hopsch S, Cohen J, Dethloff K (2012) Analysis of a link between fall Arctic sea ice concentration and atmospheric patterns in the following winter. Tellus A 64. doi: 10.3402/tellusa.v64i0.18624. http://www.tellusa.net/index.php/tellusa/article/view/18624
- Kim BM, Son SW, Min SK, Jeong JH, Kim SJ, Zhang X, Shim T, Yoon JH (2014) Weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex by Arctic sea-ice loss. Nat Commun 5:4646. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5646. http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140902/ncomms5646/full/ncomms5646.html
- Massonnet F, Fichefet T, Goosse H, Bitz CM, Philippon-Berthier G, Holland MM, Barriat PY (2012) Constraining projections of summer Arctic sea ice. Cryosphere Discuss 6(4):2931–2959. doi: 10.5194/tcd-6-2931-2012. http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/6/2931/2012/
- Notz D (2015) How well must climate models agree with observations? Philos Trans R Soc A Math Phys Eng Sci 373(2052):20140,164. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2014.0164. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rsta.2014.0164
- Press WH, Teukolsky SA, Vetterling WT, Flannery BP (2007) Numerical recipes, the art of scientific computing. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Sun L, Deser C, Polvani L, Tomas R (2014) Influence of projected Arctic sea ice loss on polar stratospheric ozone and circulation in spring. Environ Res Lett 9(8):084,016. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/8/084016. http://www.columbia.edu/~lmp/paps/sun+etal-ERL-2014-inpress.pdf http://stacks.iop.org/1748-9326/9/i=8/a=084016?key=crossref.696117343983cca75eacdc711f618c4c
- Thompson DWJ, Wallace JM (2000) Annular modes in the extratropical circulation. Part I: month-to-month variability. J Clim 13(5):1000–1016. doi: 10.1175/1520-0442(2000)0131000:AMITEC2.0.CO;2. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0442(2000)0131000:AMITEC2.0.CO;2
- Woollings T, Harvey B, Masato G (2014) Arctic warming, atmospheric blockingand cold European winters in CMIP5 models. Environ Res Lett 9(1):014,002. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/1/014002. http://stacks.iop.org/1748-9326/9/i=1/a=014002?key=crossref.067e034ecb70a6ed7629f423f58d540e