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Creators/Authors contains: "Kinney, Jaclyn Clement"

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  1. Abstract

    Arctic sea ice loss in response to a warming climate is assessed in 42 models participating in phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). Sea ice observations show a significant acceleration in the rate of decline commencing near the turn of the twenty-first century. It is our assertion that state-of-the-art climate models should qualitatively reflect this accelerated trend within the limitations of internal variability and observational uncertainty. Our analysis shows that individual CMIP6 simulations of sea ice depict a wide range of model spread on biases and anomaly trends both across models and among their ensemble members. While the CMIP6 multimodel mean captures the observed sea ice area (SIA) decline relatively well, an individual model’s ability to represent the acceleration in sea ice decline remains a challenge. Seventeen (40%) out of 42 CMIP6 models and 37 (13%) out of the total 286 ensemble members reasonably capture the observed trends and acceleration in SIA decline. In addition, a larger ensemble size appears to increase the odds for a model to include at least one ensemble member skillfully representing the accelerated SIA trends. Simulations of sea ice volume (SIV) show much larger spread and uncertainty than SIA; however, due to limited availability of sea ice thickness data, these are not as well constrained by observations. Finally, we find that models with more ocean heat transport simulate larger sea ice declines, which suggests an emergent constraint in CMIP6 ensembles. This relationship points to the need for better understanding and modeling of ice–ocean interactions, especially with respect to frazil ice growth.

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