Future circulation changes off West Antarctica: Sensitivity of the Amundsen Sea Low to projected anthropogenic forcing

The Amundsen Sea Low (ASL) is a major driver of West Antarctic climate variability, with the potential to accelerate the loss of glacial ice. Using the 11 global climate models which most reliably simulate the seasonality in ASL location, we assess the ASL sensitivity to projected future changes using the CMIP5 historical (1951–2000) and representative concentration pathway experiment RCP8.5 (2051–2100). For the first time, we show that the future ASL will likely migrate poleward in summer (December, January, and February) and autumn (March, April, and May), and eastward in autumn and winter (June, July, and August). The autumn-winter changes drive colder southerly winds over the Ross Sea and warmer northerly winds toward the Antarctic Peninsula. This is consistent with recent trends in ERA-Interim reanalysis meridional winds (1979–2014) and reconstructed temperature (1957–2006), suggesting that the impact of anthropogenic forcing on the ASL is likely to play an important role on both past and future patterns of West Antarctic climate variability.

Details

Publication status:
Published
Author(s):
Authors: Hosking, J. Scott, Orr, Andrew, Bracegirdle, Thomas J., Turner, John

On this site: Andrew Orr, Scott Hosking, John Turner, Thomas Bracegirdle
Date:
26 January, 2016
Journal/Source:
Geophysical Research Letters / 43
Page(s):
367-376
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL067143