An initial assessment of Antarctic Sea ice extent in the CMIP5 models

This paper examines the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 models used in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small of an SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two-thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum. In contrast to the satellite data, which exhibit a slight increase in SIE, the mean SIE of the models over 1979–2005 shows a decrease in each month, with the greatest multimodel mean percentage monthly decline of 13.6% decade−1 in February and the greatest absolute loss of ice of −0.40 × 106 km2 decade−1 in September. The models have very large differences in SIE over 1860–2005. Most of the control runs have statistically significant trends in SIE over their full time span, and all of the models have a negative trend in SIE since the mid-nineteenth century. The negative SIE trends in most of the model runs over 1979–2005 are a continuation of an earlier decline, suggesting that the processes responsible for the observed increase over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly.


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Authors: Turner, John, Bracegirdle, Thomas J., Phillips, Tony, Marshall, Gareth J., Hosking, J. Scott

On this site: Gareth Marshall, Scott Hosking, John Turner, Thomas Bracegirdle, Tony Phillips
1 March, 2013
Journal of Climate / 26
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