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The Role of Moist Intrusions in Winter Arctic Warming and Sea Ice Decline
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2016 (English)In: Journal of Climate, ISSN 0894-8755, E-ISSN 1520-0442, Vol. 29, 4473-4485 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the trajectories followed by intense intrusions of moist air into the Arctic polar region during autumn and winter and their impact on local temperature and sea ice concentration. It is found that the vertical structure of the warming associated with moist intrusions is bottom amplified, corresponding to a transition of local conditions from a “cold clear” state with a strong inversion to a “warm opaque” state with a weaker inversion. In the marginal sea ice zone of the Barents Sea, the passage of an intrusion also causes a retreat of the ice margin, which persists for many days after the intrusion has passed. The authors find that there is a positive trend in the number of intrusion events crossing 70°N during December and January that can explain roughly 45% of the surface air temperature and 30% of the sea ice concentration trends observed in the Barents Sea during the past two decades.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 29, 4473-4485 p.
Keyword [en]
Circulation/Dynamics, Energy transport, Physical Meteorology and Climatology, Climate change, Energy budget/balance, Ice loss/growth, Ice thickness, Moisture/moisture budget
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134774DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0773.1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-134774DiVA: diva2:1038477
Funder
Swedish e‐Science Research CenterSwedish Research Council
Available from: 2016-10-18 Created: 2016-10-18 Last updated: 2016-10-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The role of high-latitude circulation and moisture transport in Arctic climate variability and change during winter
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of high-latitude circulation and moisture transport in Arctic climate variability and change during winter
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the connections between atmospheric circulation in the high-latitudes, northward moisture transport, and Arctic climate variability and change during winter. An event based approach is taken by objectively defining phenomena termed “moisture intrusions” -- filamentary flows of anomalously moist air which originate at 70°N and cross the entire Arctic basin. They typically emanate from within the poleward advecting branches of mid-latitude cyclones held in place by blocking patterns to the east. Moisture intrusions contribute only a minority of the total northward moisture transport at 70°N, yet drive a significant proportion of the inter annual variability in surface temperature and downward longwave radiation over the entire polar cap. A positive trend in the frequency of these events, in response to a moistening of the atmosphere, is shown to have driven approximately 45% and 35% of the observed warming and sea ice decline in the Barents Sea during Dec-Jan over the past two decades. Moisture intrusions act to erode the temperature inversion and thus contribute to bottom amplified warming even in the absence of sea ice loss. Negative sea ice anomalies induced by intrusions persist for up to weeks at a time -- promoting upward turbulent heat fluxes and further bottom amplified warming. Systematic biases in the statistics of moisture intrusions are discovered in the CMIP5 models. The biases are predominantly a result of misrepresentation of the intense moisture fluxes and are almost entirely due to biases in the meridional velocity. Moisture intrusion biases explain only about 17% of the temperature bias in the Atlantic sector. The predicted biases, while small in amplitude, are very highly correlated with the true biases in the models however, suggesting that the temperature bias directly induced by misrepresented intrusion statistics may be strongly amplified by sea ice feedback. A analysis of the uncertainties in computed turbulent air-sea flux (TASF) climatologies arising due to the parameterisation of bulk formulae is also presented. TASF climatologies are computed over a series of sensitivity experiments using surface state variables from ERA-Interim. The largest source of uncertainty is related to the computation of the transfer coefficients and hence the choice of bulk algorithm itself. The majority of parameter approximations have small impacts when tested individually, but can lead to large disagreements when implemented in tandem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, 2016. 38 p.
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134787 (URN)978-91-7649-575-9 (ISBN)978-91-7649-576-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-02, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-11-09 Created: 2016-10-18 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved

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