Arctic Sea Ice Loss in Different Regions Leads to Contrasting Northern Hemisphere Impacts
To explore the mechanisms linking Arctic sea ice loss to changes in midlatitude surface temperatures, we conduct idealized modeling experiments using an intermediate general circulation model and with sea ice loss confined to the Atlantic or Pacific sectors of the Arctic (Barents-Kara or Chukchi-Bering Seas). Extending previous findings, there are opposite effects on the winter stratospheric polar vortex for both large-magnitude (late 21st century) and moderate-magnitude sea ice loss. Accordingly, there are opposite tropospheric Arctic Oscillation (AO) responses for moderate-magnitude sea ice loss. However, there are similar strength negative AO responses for large-magnitude sea ice loss, suggesting that tropospheric mechanisms become relatively more important than stratospheric mechanisms as the sea ice loss magnitude increases. The midlatitude surface temperature response for each loss region and magnitude can be understood as the combination of an “indirect” part induced by the large-scale circulation (AO) response, and a residual “direct” part that is local to the loss region.
Authors: McKenna, Christine M., Bracegirdle, Thomas J., Shuckburgh, Emily F., Haynes, Peter H., Joshi, Manoj M.