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Title: Nonuniform Contribution of Internal Variability to Recent Arctic Sea Ice Loss

Over the last half century, the Arctic sea ice cover has declined dramatically. Current estimates suggest that, for the Arctic as a whole, nearly one-half of the observed loss of summer sea ice cover is not due to anthropogenic forcing but rather is due to internal variability. Using the 40 members of the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble (CESM-LE), our analysis provides the first regional assessment of the role of internal variability on the observed sea ice loss. The CESM-LE is one of the best available models for such an analysis, because it performs better than other CMIP5 models for many metrics of importance. Our study reveals that the local contribution of internal variability has a large range and strongly depends on the month and region in question. We find that the pattern of internal variability is highly nonuniform over the Arctic, with internal variability accounting for less than 10% of late summer (August–September) East Siberian Sea sea ice loss but more than 60% of the Kara Sea sea ice loss. In contrast, spring (April–May) sea ice loss, notably in the Barents Sea, has so far been dominated by internal variability.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
American Meteorological Society
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 4039-4053
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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