Linked trends in the South Pacific sea ice edge and Southern Oscillation Index
Previous work have shown that sea ice variability in the South Pacific is associated with extratropical atmospheric anomalies linked to the Southern Oscillation (SO). Over a 32 year period (1982–2013), our study shows that the trend in Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is also able to quantitatively explain the trends in sea ice edge, drift, and surface winds in this region. On average two thirds of the winter ice edge trend in this sector, linked to ice drift and surface winds, could be explained by the positive SOI trend, thus subjecting the ice edge to strong decadal SO variability. If this relationship holds, the negative SOI trend prior to the recent satellite era suggests that ice edge trends opposite to that of the recent record over a similar time scale. Significant low-frequency ice edge trends, linked to the natural variability of SO, are superimposed upon any trends expected of anthropogenic forcing.
Authors: Kwok, R., Comiso, J.C., Lee, T., Holland, P.R.