skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Warm Arctic, Cold Siberia Pattern: Role of Full Arctic Amplification Versus Sea Ice Loss Alone

The effect of future Arctic amplification (AA) on the extratropical atmospheric circulation remains unclear in modeling studies. Using a collection of coordinated atmospheric and coupled global climate model perturbation experiments, we find an emergent relationship between the high‐latitude 1,000–500 hPa thickness response and an enhancement of the Siberian High in winter. This wave number‐1‐like sea level pressure anomaly pattern is linked to an equatorward shift of the eddy‐driven jet and a dynamical cooling response in eastern Asia. Additional simulations, where AA is imposed directly into the model domain by nudging, demonstrate how the sea ice forcing is insufficient by itself to capture the vertical extent of the warming and by extension the amplitude of the response in the Siberian High. This study demonstrates the importance of the vertical extent of the tropospheric warming over the polar cap in revealing the “warm Arctic, cold Siberia” anomaly pattern in future projections.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Arctic amplification (AA), defined as the enhanced warming of the Arctic compared to the global average, is a robust feature of historical observations and simulations of future climate. Despite many studies investigating AA mechanisms, their relative importance remains contested. In this study, we examine the different timescales of these mechanisms to improve our understanding of AA’s fundamental causes. We use the Community Earth System Model v1, Large Ensemble configuration (CESM-LE), to generate large ensembles of 2 years simulations subjected to an instantaneous quadrupling of CO2. We show that AA emerges almost immediately (within days) following CO2increase and before any significant loss of Arctic sea ice has occurred. Through a detailed energy budget analysis of the atmospheric column, we determine the time-varying contributions of AA mechanisms over the simulation period. Additionally, we examine the dependence of these mechanisms on the season of CO2quadrupling. We find that the surface heat uptake resulting from the different latent heat flux anomalies between the Arctic and global average, driven by the CO2forcing, is the most important AA contributor on short (<1 month) timescales when CO2is increased in January, followed by the lapse rate feedback. The latent heat flux anomaly remains the dominant AA mechanism when CO2is increased in July and is joined by the surface albedo feedback, although AA takes longer to develop. Other feedbacks and energy transports become relevant on longer (>1 month) timescales. Our results confirm that AA is an inherently fast atmospheric response to radiative forcing and reveal a new AA mechanism.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    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.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract Over the past decades, Arctic climate has exhibited significant changes characterized by strong Pan-Arctic warming and a large scale wind shift trending toward an anticyclonic anomaly centered over Greenland and the Arctic ocean. Recent work has suggested that this wind change is able to warm the Arctic atmosphere and melt sea ice through dynamical-driven warming, moistening and ice drift effects. However, previous examination of this linkage lacks a capability to fully consider the complex nature of the sea ice response to the wind change. In this study, we perform a more rigorous test of this idea by using a coupled high-resolution modelling framework with observed winds nudged over the Arctic that allows for a comparison of these wind-induced effects with observations and simulated effects forced by anthropogenic forcing. Our nudging simulation can well capture observed variability of atmospheric temperature, sea ice and the radiation balance during the Arctic summer and appears to simulate around 30% of Arctic warming and sea ice melting over the whole period (1979-2020) and more than 50% over the period 2000 to 2012, which is the fastest Arctic warming decade in the satellite era. In particular, in the summer of 2020, a similar wind pattern reemerged to induce the second-lowest sea ice extent since 1979, suggesting that large scale wind changes in the Arctic is essential in shaping Arctic climate on interannual and interdecadal time scales and may be critical to determine Arctic climate variability in the coming decades. 
    more » « less
  4. The direct response of the cold-season atmospheric circulation to the Arctic sea ice loss is estimated from observed sea ice concentration (SIC) and an atmospheric reanalysis, assuming that the atmospheric response to the long-term sea ice loss is the same as that to interannual pan-Arctic SIC fluctuations with identical spatial patterns. No large-scale relationship with previous interannual SIC fluctuations is found in October and November, but a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)/Arctic Oscillation follows the pan-Arctic SIC fluctuations from December to March. The signal is field significant in the stratosphere in December, and in the troposphere and tropopause thereafter. However, multiple regressions indicate that the stratospheric December signal is largely due to concomitant Siberian snow-cover anomalies. On the other hand, the tropospheric January–March NAO signals can be unambiguously attributed to SIC variability, with an Iceland high approaching 45 m at 500 hPa, a 2°C surface air warming in northeastern Canada, and a modulation of blocking activity in the North Atlantic sector. In March, a 1°C northern Europe cooling is also attributed to SIC. An SIC impact on the warm Arctic–cold Eurasia pattern is only found in February in relation to January SIC. Extrapolating the most robust results suggests that, in the absence of other forcings, the SIC loss between 1979 and 2016 would have induced a 2°–3°C decade−1winter warming in northeastern North America and a 40–60 m decade−1increase in the height of the Iceland high, if linearity and perpetual winter conditions could be assumed.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract This study uses observational and reanalysis datasets in 1980–2016 to show a close connection between a boreal autumn sea ice dipole in the Arctic Pacific sector and sea ice anomalies in the Barents Sea (BS) during the following spring. The September–October Arctic Pacific sea ice dipole variations are highly correlated with the subsequent April–May BS sea ice variations ( r = 0.71). The strong connection between the regional sea ice variabilities across the Arctic uncovers a new source of predictability for spring BS sea ice prediction at 7-month lead time. A cross-validated linear regression prediction model using the Arctic Pacific sea ice dipole with 7-month lead time is demonstrated to have significant prediction skills with 0.54–0.85 anomaly correlation coefficients. The autumn sea ice dipole, manifested as sea ice retreat in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and expansion in the East Siberian and Laptev Seas, is primarily forced by preceding atmospheric shortwave anomalies from late spring to early autumn. The spring BS sea ice increases are mostly driven by an ocean-to-sea ice heat flux reduction in preceding months, associated with reduced horizontal ocean heat transport into the BS. The dynamical linkage between the two regional sea ice anomalies is suggested to involve positive stratospheric polar cap anomalies during autumn and winter, with its center slowly moving toward Greenland. The migration of the stratospheric anomalies is followed in midwinter by a negative North Atlantic Oscillation–like pattern in the troposphere, leading to reduced ocean heat transport into the BS and sea ice extent increase. 
    more » « less