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  1. Abstract

    Future Arctic sea ice loss has a known impact on Arctic amplification (AA) and mean atmospheric circulation. Furthermore, several studies have shown it leads to a decreased variance in temperature over North America. In this study, we analyze results from two fully coupled Community Earth System Model (CESM) Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM4) simulations with sea ice nudged to either the ensemble mean of WACCM historical runs averaged over the 1980–99 period for the control (CTL) or projected RCP8.5 values over the 2080–99 period for the experiment (EXP). Dominant large-scale meteorological patterns (LSMPs) are then identified using self-organizing maps applied to winter daily 500-hPa geopotential height anomalies () over North America. We investigate how sea ice loss (EXP − CTL) impacts the frequency of these LSMPs and, through composite analysis, the sensible weather associated with them. We find differences in LSMP frequency but no change in residency time, indicating there is no stagnation of the flow with sea ice loss. Sea ice loss also acts to de-amplify and/or shift thethat characterize these LSMPs and their associated anomalies in potential temperature at 850 hPa. Impacts on precipitation anomalies are more localized and consistent with changes in anomalous sea level pressure. With this LSMP framework we provide new mechanistic insights, demonstrating a role for thermodynamic, dynamic, and diabatic processes in sea ice impacts on atmospheric variability. Understanding these processes from a synoptic perspective is critical as some LSMPs play an outsized role in producing the mean response to Arctic sea ice loss.

    Significance Statement

    The goal of this study is to understand how future Arctic sea ice loss might impact daily weather patterns over North America. We use a global climate model to produce one set of simulations where sea ice is similar to present conditions and another that represents conditions at the end of the twenty-first century. Daily patterns in large-scale circulation at roughly 5.5 km in altitude are then identified using a machine learning method. We find that sea ice loss tends to de-amplify these patterns and their associated impacts on temperature nearer the surface. Our methodology allows us to probe more deeply into the mechanisms responsible for these changes, which provides a new way to understand how sea ice loss can impact the daily weather we experience.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Observations show Arctic sea ice has declined and midlatitude storminess has weakened during Northern Hemisphere (NH) summertime. It is currently unclear whether Arctic sea ice loss impacts summertime storminess because most previous work focuses on other seasons. Here we quantify the impact of Arctic sea ice loss on NH summertime storminess using equilibrium and transient climate model simulations. The equilibrium simulations show mid‐to‐late 21st century Arctic sea ice loss weakens summertime storminess, but only in the presence of ocean coupling. With ocean coupling, the equator‐to‐pole temperature and atmospheric energy gradients significantly weaken due to increased surface turbulent flux in the polar region following Arctic sea ice loss. The transient simulations show Arctic sea ice loss does not significantly weaken summertime storminess until the late 21st century. Furthermore, Arctic Amplification, which is dominated by Arctic sea ice loss in the present day, does not significantly impact the present‐day weakening of summertime storminess.

     
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  3. Abstract

    This study investigates the stratospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss and subsequent near-surface impacts by analyzing 200-member coupled experiments using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 6 (WACCM6) with preindustrial, present-day, and future sea ice conditions specified following the protocol of the Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project. The stratospheric polar vortex weakens significantly in response to the prescribed sea ice loss, with a larger response to greater ice loss (i.e., future minus preindustrial) than to smaller ice loss (i.e., future minus present-day). Following the weakening of the stratospheric circulation in early boreal winter, the coupled stratosphere–troposphere response to ice loss strengthens in late winter and early spring, projecting onto a negative North Atlantic Oscillation–like pattern in the lower troposphere. To investigate whether the stratospheric response to sea ice loss and subsequent surface impacts depend on the background oceanic state, ensemble members are initialized by a combination of varying phases of Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) and interdecadal Pacific variability (IPV). Different AMV and IPV states combined, indeed, can modulate the stratosphere–troposphere responses to sea ice loss, particularly in the North Atlantic sector. Similar experiments with another climate model show that, although strong sea ice forcing also leads to tighter stratosphere–troposphere coupling than weak sea ice forcing, the timing of the response differs from that in WACCM6. Our findings suggest that Arctic sea ice loss can affect the stratospheric circulation and subsequent tropospheric variability on seasonal time scales, but modulation by the background oceanic state and model dependence need to be taken into account.

    Significance Statement

    This study uses new-generation climate models to better understand the impacts of Arctic sea ice loss on the surface climate in the midlatitudes, including North America, Europe, and Siberia. We focus on the stratosphere–troposphere pathway, which involves the weakening of stratospheric winds and its downward coupling into the troposphere. Our results show that Arctic sea ice loss can affect the surface climate in the midlatitudes via the stratosphere–troposphere pathway, and highlight the modulations from background mean oceanic states as well as model dependence.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Observations reveal two distinct patterns of atmospheric variability associated with wintertime variations in midlatitude sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the North Pacific sector: 1) a pattern of atmospheric circulation anomalies that peaks 2–3 weeks prior to large SST anomalies in the western North Pacific that is consistent with “atmospheric forcing” of the SST field, and 2) a pattern that lags SST anomalies in the western North Pacific by several weeks that is consistent with the “atmospheric response” to the SST field. Here we explore analogous lead–lag relations between the atmospheric circulation and western North Pacific SST anomalies in two sets of simulations run on the NCAR Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1): 1) a simulation run on a fully coupled version of CESM1 and 2) a simulation forced with prescribed, time-evolving SST anomalies over the western North Pacific region. Together, the simulations support the interpretation that the observed lead–lag relationships between western North Pacific SST anomalies and the atmospheric circulation reveal the patterns of atmospheric variability that both force and respond to midlatitude SST anomalies. The results provide numerical evidence that SST variability over the western North Pacific has a demonstrable effect on the large-scale atmospheric circulation throughout the North Pacific sector.

     
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  5. Abstract. It has been suggested that increased stratospheric sulfate aerosol loadings following large, low latitude volcanic eruptions can lead to wintertime warming over Eurasia through dynamical stratosphere–troposphere coupling. We here investigate the proposedconnection in the context of hypothetical future stratospheric sulfategeoengineering in the Geoengineering Large Ensemble simulations. In thosegeoengineering simulations, we find that stratospheric circulation anomalies that resemble the positive phase of the Northern Annular Mode in winter are a distinguishing climate response which is absent when increasing greenhouse gases alone are prescribed. This stratospheric dynamical response projects onto the positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, leading to associated side effects of this climate intervention strategy, such as continental Eurasian warming and precipitation changes. Seasonality is a key signature of the dynamically driven surface response. We find an opposite response of the North Atlantic Oscillation in summer, when no dynamical role of the stratosphere is expected. The robustness of the wintertime forced response stands in contrast to previously proposed volcanic responses. 
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  6. Abstract

    This paper compares surface signatures of the zonally symmetric and asymmetric modes of stratospheric variability, which describe the strength of the polar vortex and a planetary wave‐1 pattern, respectively. Unlike a weak polar vortex followed by negative Arctic Oscillation–like anomalies, strong stratospheric wave activity features a polar vortex displacement with a deep planetary wave‐1 structure, resulting in positive North Atlantic Oscillation–like North American cooling in about 10 days. Moreover, the linkage between the stratosphere and surface is examined in two reanalyzes and four models of different configurations, which show more robust North American cooling following the displacement of the polar vortex due to strong stratospheric wave activity than the zonally symmetric weakening of the polar vortex. This suggests strong stratospheric wave activity acts as a better predictor for cold spells in the northern U.S. and Canada compared with a weak polar vortex.

     
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  7. null (Ed.)
    Abstract There is a growing demand for understanding sources of predictability on subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) time scales. Predictability at subseasonal time scales is believed to come from processes varying slower than the atmosphere such as soil moisture, snowpack, sea ice, and ocean heat content. The stratosphere as well as tropospheric modes of variability can also provide predictability at subseasonal time scales. However, the contributions of the above sources to S2S predictability are not well quantified. Here we evaluate the subseasonal prediction skill of the Community Earth System Model, version 1 (CESM1), in the default version of the model as well as a version with the improved representation of stratospheric variability to assess the role of an improved stratosphere on prediction skill. We demonstrate that the subseasonal skill of CESM1 for surface temperature and precipitation is comparable to that of operational models. We find that a better-resolved stratosphere improves stratospheric but not surface prediction skill for weeks 3–4. 
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  8. Abstract

    Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are key to understanding and predicting subseasonal Northern Hemisphere winter climate variability. Here we study the uncertainty in the surface response to SSWs in reanalysis data by constructing synthetic composites based on bootstrapping the 39 events observed during the 1958–2019 period. We find that the well‐known responses in the North Atlantic and European regions following SSWs are consistently present, but their magnitude and spatial pattern vary considerably across the synthetic composites. We further find that this uncertainty is unrelated to stratospheric polar vortex strength and is instead the result of independent tropospheric variability. Our findings provide a basis for evaluating the fidelity of the surface response to SSWs in models.

     
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