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Title: Amplified North Atlantic warming in the late Pliocene by changes in Arctic gateways: Arctic Gateways and Pliocene Climate
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
957 to 964
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    We review recent trends and projected future physical and chemical changes under climate change in transition zones between Arctic and Subarctic regions with a focus on the two major inflow gateways to the Arctic, one in the Pacific (i.e. Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and the Chukchi Sea) and the other in the Atlantic (i.e. Fram Strait and the Barents Sea). Sea-ice coverage in the gateways has been disappearing during the last few decades. Projected higher air and sea temperatures in these gateways in the future will further reduce sea ice, and cause its later formation and earlier retreat. An intensification of the hydrological cycle will result in less snow, more rain, and increased river runoff. Ocean temperatures are projected to increase, leading to higher heat fluxes through the gateways. Increased upwelling at the Arctic continental shelf is expected as sea ice retreats. The pH of the water will decline as more atmospheric CO2 is absorbed. Long-term surface nutrient levels in the gateways will likely decrease due to increased stratification and reduced vertical mixing. Some effects of these environmental changes on humans in Arctic coastal communities are also presented.

  2. Abstract

    Climate change impacts are pronounced at high latitudes, where warming, reduced sea-ice-cover, and ocean acidification affect marine ecosystems. We review climate change impacts on two major gateways into the Arctic: the Bering and Chukchi seas in the Pacific and the Barents Sea and Fram Strait in the Atlantic. We present scenarios of how changes in the physical environment and prey resources may affect commercial fish populations and fisheries in these high-latitude systems to help managers and stakeholders think about possible futures. Predicted impacts include shifts in the spatial distribution of boreal species, a shift from larger, lipid-rich zooplankton to smaller, less nutritious prey, with detrimental effects on fishes that depend on high-lipid prey for overwinter survival, shifts from benthic- to pelagic-dominated food webs with implications for upper trophic levels, and reduced survival of commercially important shellfish in waters that are increasingly acidic. Predicted changes are expected to result in disruptions to existing fisheries, the emergence of new fisheries, new challenges for managing transboundary stocks, and possible conflicts among resource users. Some impacts may be irreversible, more severe, or occur more frequently under anthropogenic climate change than impacts associated with natural variability, posing additional management challenges.

  3. Abstract. Palaeoclimate simulations improve our understanding ofthe climate, inform us about the performance of climate models in adifferent climate scenario, and help to identify robust features of theclimate system. Here, we analyse Arctic warming in an ensemble of 16simulations of the mid-Pliocene Warm Period (mPWP), derived from thePliocene Model Intercomparison Project Phase 2 (PlioMIP2). The PlioMIP2 ensemble simulates Arctic (60–90∘ N) annual meansurface air temperature (SAT) increases of 3.7 to 11.6 ∘Ccompared to the pre-industrial period, with a multi-model mean (MMM) increase of7.2 ∘C. The Arctic warming amplification ratio relative to globalSAT anomalies in the ensemble ranges from 1.8 to 3.1 (MMM is 2.3). Sea iceextent anomalies range from −3.0 to -10.4×106 km2, with a MMManomaly of -5.6×106 km2, which constitutes a decrease of 53 %compared to the pre-industrial period. The majority (11 out of 16) of models simulatesummer sea-ice-free conditions (≤1×106 km2) in their mPWPsimulation. The ensemble tends to underestimate SAT in the Arctic whencompared to available reconstructions, although the degree of underestimationvaries strongly between the simulations. The simulations with the highestArctic SAT anomalies tend to match the proxy dataset in its current formbetter. The ensemble shows some agreement with reconstructions of sea ice,particularly with regard to seasonal sea ice. Large uncertainties limit theconfidence that canmore »be placed in the findings and the compatibility of thedifferent proxy datasets. We show that while reducing uncertainties in thereconstructions could decrease the SAT data–model discord substantially,further improvements are likely to be found in enhanced boundary conditionsor model physics. Lastly, we compare the Arctic warming in the mPWP toprojections of future Arctic warming and find that the PlioMIP2 ensemblesimulates greater Arctic amplification than CMIP5 future climate simulationsand an increase instead of a decrease in Atlantic Meridional OverturningCirculation (AMOC) strength compared topre-industrial period. The results highlight the importance of slow feedbacks inequilibrium climate simulations, and that caution must be taken when usingsimulations of the mPWP as an analogue for future climate change.« less
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