The role of ocean-atmosphere coupling in the zonal-mean atmospheric response to Arctic Sea ice loss

AMS Citation:
Deser, C., R. A. Tomas, and L. Sun, 2015: The role of ocean-atmosphere coupling in the zonal-mean atmospheric response to Arctic Sea ice loss. Journal of Climate, 28, 2168-2186, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00325.1.
Date:2015-03-15
Resource Type:article
Title:The role of ocean-atmosphere coupling in the zonal-mean atmospheric response to Arctic Sea ice loss
Abstract: The role of ocean-atmosphere coupling in the zonal-mean climate response to projected late twenty-first-century Arctic sea ice loss is investigated using Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) at 1° spatial resolution. Parallel experiments with different ocean model configurations (full-depth, slab, and no interactive ocean) allow the roles of dynamical and thermodynamic ocean feedbacks to be isolated. In the absence of ocean coupling, the atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss is confined to north of 30°N, consisting of a weakening and equatorward shift of the westerlies accompanied by lower tropospheric warming and enhanced precipitation at high latitudes. With ocean feedbacks, the response expands to cover the whole globe and exhibits a high degree of equatorial symmetry: the entire troposphere warms, the global hydrological cycle strengthens, and the intertropical convergence zones shift equatorward. Ocean dynamics are fundamental to producing this equatorially symmetric pattern of response to Arctic sea ice loss. Finally, the absence of a poleward shift of the wintertime Northern Hemisphere westerlies in CCSM4’s response to greenhouse gas radiative forcing is shown to result from the competing effects of Arctic sea ice loss and greenhouse warming on the meridional temperature gradient in middle latitudes.
Peer Review:Refereed
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OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d76m3813
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00325.1
Author(s):
  • Clara Deser - NCAR/UCAR
  • Robert Tomas - NCAR/UCAR
  • Lantao Sun - NCAR/UCAR
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