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Greenland coastal air temperatures linked to Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea ice conditions during autumn through regional blocking patterns

Abstract

Variations in sea ice freeze onset and regional sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea are linked to autumn surface air temperatures (SATs) around coastal Greenland through 500 hPa blocking patterns, 1979–2014. We find strong, statistically significant correlations between Baffin Bay freeze onset and SSTs and SATs across the western and southernmost coastal areas, while weaker and fewer significant correlations are found between eastern SATs, SSTs, and freeze periods observed in the neighboring Greenland Sea. Autumn Greenland Blocking Index values and the incidence of meridional circulation patterns have increased over the modern sea ice monitoring era. Increased anticyclonic blocking patterns promote poleward transport of warm air from lower latitudes and local warm air advection onshore from ocean–atmosphere sensible heat exchange through ice-free or thin ice-covered seas bordering the coastal stations. Temperature composites by years of extreme late freeze conditions, occurring since 2006 in Baffin Bay, reveal positive monthly SAT departures that often exceed 1 standard deviation from the 1981–2010 climate normal over coastal areas that exhibit a similar spatial pattern as the peak correlations.

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Acknowledgements

The Editor and Reviewers are thanked for their constructive comments, which helped improve the manuscript. Special thanks to David McCutcheon (Department of Geography, University of Sheffield) for his assistance in drafting Fig. 1. The AO dataset is obtained through the Climate Prediction Center webpage (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/teleconnections.shtml), and NAO data may be found on the NCAR Climate Data Guide website (https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/hurrell-north-atlantic-oscillation-nao-index-pc-based). GBI data can be accessed from: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/geography/staff/hanna_edward/gbi. NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data are obtained from http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/data.ncep.reanalysis.html. EH and RJH acknowledge support from the University of Sheffield’s Project Sunshine.

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Ballinger, T.J., Hanna, E., Hall, R.J. et al. Greenland coastal air temperatures linked to Baffin Bay and Greenland Sea ice conditions during autumn through regional blocking patterns. Clim Dyn 50, 83–100 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-3583-3

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Keywords

  • Arctic sea ice
  • Greenland
  • Greenland Blocking Index
  • Surface air temperature
  • Sea surface temperature