The importance of sea ice area biases in 21st century multimodel projections of Antarctic temperature and precipitation
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
© 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Reason for embargo
Climate models exhibit large biases in sea ice area (SIA) in their historical simulations. This study explores the impacts of these biases on multimodel uncertainty in Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) ensemble projections of 21st century change in Antarctic surface temperature, net precipitation, and SIA. The analysis is based on time slice climatologies in the Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 future scenario (2070-2099) and historical (1970-1999) simulations across 37 different CMIP5 models. Projected changes in net precipitation, temperature, and SIA are found to be strongly associated with simulated historical mean SIA (e.g., cross-model correlations of r = 0.77, 0.71, and -0.85, respectively). Furthermore, historical SIA bias is found to have a large impact on the simulated ratio between net precipitation response and temperature response. This ratio is smaller in models with smaller-than-observed SIA. These strong emergent relationships on SIA bias could, if found to be physically robust, be exploited to give more precise climate projections for Antarctica.
We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups (listed in Table S1 of this paper) for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP the U.S. Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provided the coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. The original CMIP5 data can be accessed through the ESGF data portals (see http://pcmdi-cmip.llnl.gov/cmip5/ availability.html). This study is part of the British Antarctic Survey Polar Science for Planet Earth Programme. It was funded by The UK Natural Environment Research Council (grant reference NE/K00445X/1). We would like to thank Paul Holland for his useful discussions and comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 42, pp. 10832 - 10839