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Title: Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Mean State in the Community Earth System Model Version 2 and the Influence of Atmospheric Chemistry

Arctic and Antarctic sea ice has undergone significant and rapid change with the changing climate. Here, we present preindustrial and historical results from the newly released Community Earth System Model Version 2 (CESM2) to assess the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. Two configurations of the CESM2 are available that differ only in their atmospheric model top and the inclusion of comprehensive atmospheric chemistry, including prognostic aerosols. The CESM2 configuration with comprehensive atmospheric chemistry has significantly thicker Arctic sea ice year‐round and better captures decreasing trends in sea ice extent and volume over the satellite period. In the Antarctic, both CESM configurations have similar mean state ice extent and volume, but the ice extent trends are opposite to satellite observations. We find that differences in the Arctic sea ice between CESM2 configurations are the result of differences in liquid clouds. Over the Arctic, the CESM2 configuration without prognostic aerosol formation has fewer aerosols to form cloud condensation nuclei, leading to thinner liquid clouds. As a result, the sea ice receives much more shortwave radiation early in the melt season, driving a stronger ice albedo feedback and leading to additional sea ice loss and significantly thinner ice year‐round. The aerosols necessary for the Arctic liquid cloud formation are produced from different precursor emissions and transported to the Arctic. Thus, the main reason sea ice differs in the Arctic is the transport of cloud‐impacting aerosols into the region, while the Antarctic remains relatively pristine from extrapolar aerosol transport.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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