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  1. The sensitivity of sea ice to fire emissions highlights climate model uncertainty related to the accuracy of prescribed forcings. 
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  2. Abstract

    Sea ice will persist longer in the Last Ice Area (LIA), north of Canada and Greenland, than elsewhere in the Arctic. We combine earth system model ensembles with a sea‐ice tracking utility (SITU) to explore sources of sea ice (the “ice shed”) to the LIA under two scenarios: continued high warming (HW) rates and low warming (LW) rates (mean global warming below ca. 2°C) through the 21st century. Until mid‐century, the two scenarios yield similar results: the primary ice source shifts from the Russian continental shelves to the central Arctic, mobility increases, and mean ice age in the LIA drops from about 7 years to less than one. After about 2050, sea ice stabilizes in the LW scenario, but continues to decline in the HW scenario until LIA sea ice is nearly entirely seasonal and locally formed. Sea ice pathways through the ice shed determine LIA ice conditions and transport of material, including biota, sediments, and pollutants (spilled oil and industrial or agricultural contaminants have been identified as potential hazards). This study demonstrates that global warming has a dramatic impact on the sources, pathways and ages of ice entering the LIA. Therefore, we suggest that maintaining ice quality and preserving ice‐obligate ecologies in the LIA, including the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area north of Nunavut, Canada, will require international governance. The SITU system used in this study is publicly available as an online utility to support researchers, policy analysts, and educators interested in past and future sea ice sources and trajectories.

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  3. Abstract. In recent decades, Arctic sea ice has shifted toward ayounger, thinner, seasonal ice regime. Studying and understanding this“new” Arctic will be the focus of a year-long ship campaign beginning inautumn 2019. Lagrangian tracking of sea ice floes in the Community EarthSystem Model Large Ensemble (CESM-LE) during representative “perennial”and “seasonal” time periods allows for understanding of the conditionsthat a floe could experience throughout the calendar year. These modeltracks, put into context a single year of observations, provide guidance onhow observations can optimally shape model development, and how climatemodels could be used in future campaign planning. The modeled floe tracksshow a range of possible trajectories, though a Transpolar Drift trajectoryis most likely. There is also a small but emerging possibility of high-risktracks, including possible melt of the floe before the end of a calendaryear. We find that a Lagrangian approach is essential in order to correctlycompare the seasonal cycle of sea ice conditions between point-basedobservations and a model. Because of high variability in the melt season seaice conditions, we recommend in situ sampling over a large range of ice conditionsfor a more complete understanding of how ice type and surface conditionsaffect the observed processes. We find that sea ice predictability emergesrapidly during the autumn freeze-up and anticipate that process-basedobservations during this period may help elucidate the processes leading tothis change in predictability. 
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  4. Abstract

    Historical simulations performed for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 used biomass burning emissions between 1997 and 2014 containing higher spatial and temporal variability compared to emission inventories specified for earlier years, and compared to emissions used in previous (e.g., CMIP5) simulation intercomparisons. Using the Community Earth System Model version 2 Large Ensemble, we show this increased biomass burning emissions variability leads to amplification of the hydrologic cycle poleward of 40°N. Notably, the high variability of biomass burning emissions leads to increased latent heat fluxes, column‐integrated precipitable water, and precipitation. Greater ocean heat uptake, weaker meridional energy transport from the tropics, greater atmospheric shortwave and longwave absorption, and lower relative humidity act to moderate this hydrologic cycle amplification. Our results suggest it is not only the secular changes (on multidecadal timescales) in biomass burning emissions that impact the hydrologic cycle, but also the shorter timescale variability in emissions.

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  5. Abstract

    A spurious increase in the interannual variability of prescribed biomass burning (BB) emissions in the CMIP6 forcing database during the satellite era of wildfire monitoring (1997–2014) is found to lead to warming in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics in simulations with the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2). Using targeted sensitivity experiments with the CESM2 in which prescribed BB emissions are homogenized and variability is removed, we show that the warming is specifically attributable to BB variability from 40° to 70°N and arises from a net thinning of the cloud field and an associated increase in absorbed solar radiation. Our results also demonstrate the potential pitfalls of introducing discontinuities in climate forcing data sets when trying to incorporate novel observations.

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  6. Abstract

    We provide an assessment of the current and future states of Arctic sea ice simulated by the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2). The CESM2 is the version of the CESM contributed to the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). We analyze changes in Arctic sea ice cover in two CESM2 configurations with differing atmospheric components: the CESM2(CAM6) and the CESM2(WACCM6). Over the historical period, the CESM2(CAM6) winter ice thickness distribution is biased thin, which leads to lower summer ice area compared to CESM2(WACCM6) and observations. In both CESM2 configurations, the timing of first ice‐free conditions is insensitive to the choice of CMIP6 future emissions scenario. In fact, the probability of an ice‐free Arctic summer remains low only if global warming stays below 1.5°C, which none of the CMIP6 scenarios achieve. By the end of the 21st century, the CESM2 simulates less ocean heat loss during the fall months compared to its previous version, delaying sea ice formation and leading to ice‐free conditions for up to 8 months under the high emissions scenario. As a result, both CESM2 configurations exhibit an accelerated decline in winter and spring ice area, a behavior that had not been previously seen in CESM simulations. Differences in climate sensitivity and higher levels of atmospheric CO2by 2100 in the CMIP6 high emissions scenario compared to its CMIP5 analog could explain why this winter ice loss was not previously simulated by the CESM.

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  7. Abstract

    Simulations of 21st century climate with Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) using the standard atmosphere (CAM6), denoted CESM2(CAM6), and the latest generation of the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM6), denoted CESM2(WACCM6), are presented, and a survey of general results is described. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of CESM2(CAM6) is 5.3°C, and CESM2(WACCM6) is 4.8°C, while the transient climate response (TCR) is 2.1°C in CESM2(CAM6) and 2.0°C in CESM2(WACCM6). Thus, these two CESM2 model versions have higher values of ECS than the previous generation of model, the CESM (CAM5) (hereafter CESM1), that had an ECS of 4.1°C, though the CESM2 versions have lower values of TCR compared to the CESM1 with a somewhat higher value of 2.3°C. All model versions produce credible simulations of the time evolution of historical global surface temperature. The higher ECS values for the CESM2 versions are reflected in higher values of global surface temperature increase by 2,100 in CESM2(CAM6) and CESM2(WACCM6) compared to CESM1 between comparable emission scenarios for the high forcing scenario. Future warming among CESM2 model versions and scenarios diverges around 2050. The larger values of TCR and ECS in CESM2(CAM6) compared to CESM1 are manifested by greater warming in the tropics. Associated with a higher climate sensitivity, for CESM2(CAM6) the first instance of an ice‐free Arctic in September occurs for all scenarios and ensemble members in the 2030–2050 time frame, but about a decade later in CESM2(WACCM6), occurring around 2040–2060.

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