Antarctic sea ice projections constrained by historical ice cover and future global temperature change

There is low confidence in projections of Antarctic sea ice area (SIA), due to deficiencies in climate model sea ice processes. Ensemble regression techniques can help to reduce this uncertainty. We investigate relationships between SIA climatology and 21st century change in the CMIP6 multi-model ensemble. In summer, under a strong forcing scenario, each model loses the majority of its sea ice. Therefore, models with greater historical SIA exhibit greater reductions, so the observed climatology of SIA strongly constrains projections. Ensemble spread in historical summer SIA is smaller than in CMIP5, and CMIP6 gives a more robust constraint on future SIA. In winter, by 2100 under a strong forcing scenario, 40% of SIA disappears on average, and ensemble spread in historical mean SIA explains approximately half the spread in projected change. A greater winter ice loss in CMIP6 than CMIP5 is explained by the higher climate sensitivities of some CMIP6 models.


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Authors: Holmes, C.R. ORCIDORCID record for C.R. Holmes, Bracegirdle, T.J. ORCIDORCID record for T.J. Bracegirdle, Holland, P.R. ORCIDORCID record for P.R. Holland

On this site: Caroline Holmes, Paul Holland, Thomas Bracegirdle
28 May, 2022
Geophysical Research Letters / 49
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