The recent Arctic sea ice loss is a key driver of the amplified surface warming in the northern high latitudes, and simultaneously a major source of uncertainty in model projections of Arctic climate change. Previous work has shown that the spread in model predictions of future Arctic amplification (AA) can be traced back to the inter-model spread in simulated long-term sea ice loss. We demonstrate that the strength of future AA is further linked to the current climate’s, observable sea ice state across the multi-model ensemble of the 6th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). The implication is that the sea-ice climatology sets the stage for long-term changes through the 21st century, which mediate the degree by which Arctic warming is amplified with respect to global warming. We determine that a lower base-climate sea ice extent and sea ice concentration (SIC) in CMIP6 models enable stronger ice melt in both future climate and during the seasonal cycle. In particular, models with lower Arctic-mean SIC project stronger future ice loss and a more intense seasonal cycle in ice melt and growth. Both processes systemically link to a larger future AA across climate models. These results are manifested by the role of climate feedbacks that have been widely identified as major drivers of AA. We show in particular that models with low base-climate SIC predict a systematically stronger warming contribution through both sea-ice albedo feedback and temperature feedbacks in the future, as compared to models with high SIC. From our derived linear regressions in conjunction with observations, we estimate a 21st-century AA over sea ice of 2.47–3.34 with respect to global warming. Lastly, from the tight relationship between base-climate SIC and the projected timing of an ice-free September, we predict a seasonally ice-free Arctic by mid-century under a high-emission scenario.
Projected changes in the Northern Hemisphere stratospheric polar vortex are analyzed using Climate Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 experiments. Previous studies showed that projections of the wintertime zonally averaged polar vortex strength diverge widely between climate models with no agreement on the sign of change, and that this uncertainty contributes to the regional climate change uncertainty. Here, we show that there remains large uncertainty in the projected strength of the polar vortex in experiments with global warming levels ranging from moderate (SSP245 runs) to large (Abrupt‐4xCO2runs), and that the uncertainty maximizes in winter. Partitioning of the uncertainty in wintertime polar vortex strength projections reveals that, by the end of the 21st century, model uncertainty contributes half of the total uncertainty, with scenario uncertainty contributing only 10%. Regression analysis shows that up to 20% of the intermodel spread in projected precipitation over the Iberian Peninsula and northwestern US, and 20%–30% in near‐surface temperature over western US and northern Eurasian, can be associated with the spread in vortex strength projections after accounting for global warming. While changes in the magnitude and sign of the zonally averaged vortex strength are uncertain, most models (>95%) predict an eastward shift of the vortex by 8°–20° degrees in longitude relative to its historical location with the magnitude of the shift increasing for larger global warming levels. There is less agreement across models on a latitudinal shift, whose direction and magnitude correlate with changes in the zonally averaged vortex strength so that vortex weakening/strengthening corresponds to a southward/poleward shift.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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