Ocean-atmospheric state dependence of the atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss
Journal of Climate
American Meteorological Society
© 2017 American Meteorological Society.
Reason for embargo
The Arctic is warming faster than the global average. This disproportionate warming – known as Arctic amplification – has caused significant local changes to the Arctic system and more uncertain remote changes across the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. Here, we use an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) to test the sensitivity of the atmospheric and surface response to Arctic sea ice loss to the phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which varies on (multi-)decadal timescales. Four experiments are performed, combining low and high sea ice states with global sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with opposite phases of the AMO. A trough-ridge-trough response to wintertime sea ice loss is seen in the PacificNorth America sector in the negative phase of the AMO. We propose that this is a consequence of an increased meridional temperature gradient in response to sea ice loss, just south of the climatological maximum, in the central midlatitude North Pacific. This causes a southward shift in the North Pacific storm track, which strengthens the Aleutian Low with circulation anomalies propagating into North America. While the climate response to sea ice loss is sensitive to AMO-related SST anomalies in the North Pacific, there is little sensitivity to larger magnitude SST anomalies in the North Atlantic. With background ocean-atmospheric states persisting for a number of years, there is the potential to improve predictions of the impacts of Arctic sea ice loss on decadal timescales
This work was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council grants NE/M006123/1 and NE/J019585/1. The HadGAM2 simulations were performed on the ARCHER UK National Supercomputing Service. For the provision of observed and reanalysis data the Met Office Hadley Centre and NOAA ESRL are thanked. Model data are available from the authors upon request.
This is the final version of the article. Available from American Meteorological Society via the DOI in this record.
Published online 9 February 2017