skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


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

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.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1724748
NSF-PAR ID:
10452263
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Volume:
125
Issue:
8
ISSN:
2169-9275
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Global climate models (GCMs) are challenged by difficulties in simulating cloud phase and cloud radiative effect over the Southern Ocean (SO). Some of the new‐generation GCMs predict too much liquid and too little ice in mixed‐phase clouds. This misrepresentation of cloud phase in GCMs results in weaker negative cloud feedback over the SO and a higher climate sensitivity. Based on a model comparison with observational data obtained during the Southern Ocean Cloud Radiation and Aerosol Transport Experimental Study, this study addresses a key uncertainty in the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) related to cloud phase, namely ice formation in pristine remote SO clouds. It is found that sea spray organic aerosols (SSOAs) are the most important type of ice nucleating particles (INPs) over the SO with concentrations 1 order of magnitude higher than those of dust INPs based on measurements and CESM2 simulations. Secondary ice production (SIP) which includes riming splintering, rain droplet shattering, and ice‐ice collisional fragmentation as implemented in CESM2 is the dominant ice production process in moderately cold clouds with cloud temperatures greater than −20°C. SIP enhances the in‐cloud ice number concentrations (Ni) by 1–3 orders of magnitude and predicts more mixed‐phase (with percentage occurrence increased from 15% to 21%), in better agreement with the observations. This study highlights the importance of accurately representing the cloud phase over the pristine remote SO by considering the ice nucleation of SSOA and SIP processes, which are currently missing in most GCM cloud microphysics parameterizations.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Many modern sea ice models used in global climate models represent the subgrid‐scale heterogeneity in sea ice thickness with an ice thickness distribution (ITD), which improves model realism by representing the significant impact of the high spatial heterogeneity of sea ice thickness on thermodynamic and dynamic processes. Most models default to five thickness categories. However, little has been done to explore the effects of the resolution of this distribution (number of categories) on sea‐ice feedbacks in a coupled model framework and resulting representation of the sea ice mean state. Here, we explore this using sensitivity experiments in CESM2 with the standard 5 ice thickness categories and 15 ice thickness categories. Increasing the resolution of the ITD in a run with preindustrial climate forcing results in substantially thicker Arctic sea ice year‐round. Analyses show that this is a result of the ITD influence on ice strength. With 15 ITD categories, weaker ice occurs for the same average thickness, resulting in a higher fraction of ridged sea ice. In contrast, the higher resolution of thin ice categories results in enhanced heat conduction and bottom growth and leads to only somewhat increased winter Antarctic sea ice volume. The spatial resolution of the ICESat‐2 satellite mission provides a new opportunity to compare model outputs with observations of seasonal evolution of the ITD in the Arctic (ICESat‐2; 2018–2021). Comparisons highlight significant differences from the ITD modeled with both runs over this period, likely pointing to underlying issues contributing to the representation of average thickness.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract. The interactions between aerosols and ice clouds represent one of the largest uncertainties in global radiative forcing from pre-industrial time to the present. In particular, the impact of aerosols on ice crystal effective radius (Rei), which is a key parameter determining ice clouds' net radiative effect, is highly uncertain due to limited and conflicting observational evidence. Here we investigate the effects of aerosols on Rei under different meteorological conditions using 9-year satellite observations. We find that the responses of Rei to aerosol loadings are modulated by water vapor amount in conjunction with several other meteorological parameters. While there is a significant negative correlation between Rei and aerosol loading in moist conditions, consistent with the "Twomey effect" for liquid clouds, a strong positive correlation between the two occurs in dry conditions. Simulations based on a cloud parcel model suggest that water vapor modulates the relative importance of different ice nucleation modes, leading to the opposite aerosol impacts between moist and dry conditions. When ice clouds are decomposed into those generated from deep convection and formed in situ, the water vapor modulation remains in effect for both ice cloud types, although the sensitivities of Rei to aerosols differ noticeably between them due to distinct formation mechanisms. The water vapor modulation can largely explain the difference in the responses of Rei to aerosol loadings in various seasons. A proper representation of the water vapor modulation is essential for an accurate estimate of aerosol–cloud radiative forcing produced by ice clouds.

     
    more » « less
  4. The response of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) to a warmer climate is uncertain on long time scales. Climate models, such as those participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6), are used to assess this uncertainty. The Community Earth System Model version 2.1 (CESM2) is a CMIP6 model capable of running climate simulations with either one‐way coupling (fixed ice sheet geometry) or two‐way coupling (dynamic geometry) to the GrIS. The model features prognostic snow albedo, online downscaling using elevation classes, and a firn pack to refreeze percolating melt water. Here we evaluate the representation of the GrIS surface energy balance and surface mass balance in CESM2 at 1° resolution with fixed GrIS geometry. CESM2 agrees closely with ERA‐Interim reanalysis data for key controls on GrIS SMB: surface pressure, sea ice extent, 500 hPa geopotential height, wind speed, and 700 hPa air temperature. Cloudsat‐CALIPSO data show that supercooled liquid‐containing clouds are adequately represented, whereas comparisons to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer and CM SAF Cloud, Albedo, and Surface Radiation data set from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data second edition data suggest that CESM2 underestimates surface albedo. The seasonal cycle and spatial patterns of surface energy balance and surface mass balance components in CESM2 agree well with regional climate model RACMO2.3p2, with GrIS‐integrated melt, refreezing, and runoff bracketed by RACMO2 counterparts at 11 and 1 km. Time series of melt, runoff, and SMB show a break point around 1990, similar to RACMO2. These results suggest that GrIS SMB is realistic in CESM2, which adds confidence to coupled ice sheet‐climate experiments that aim to assess the GrIS contribution to future sea level rise.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, prompting glacial melt, permafrost thaw, and sea ice decline. These severe consequences induce feedbacks that contribute to amplified warming, affecting weather and climate globally. Aerosols and clouds play a critical role in regulating radiation reaching the Arctic surface. However, the magnitude of their effects is not adequately quantified, especially in the central Arctic where they impact the energy balance over the sea ice. Specifically, aerosols called ice nucleating particles (INPs) remain understudied yet are necessary for cloud ice production and subsequent changes in cloud lifetime, radiative effects, and precipitation. Here, we report observations of INPs in the central Arctic over a full year, spanning the entire sea ice growth and decline cycle. Further, these observations are size-resolved, affording valuable information on INP sources. Our results reveal a strong seasonality of INPs, with lower concentrations in the winter and spring controlled by transport from lower latitudes, to enhanced concentrations of INPs during the summer melt, likely from marine biological production in local open waters. This comprehensive characterization of INPs will ultimately help inform cloud parameterizations in models of all scales. 
    more » « less