Mechanism of seasonal Arctic sea ice evolution and Arctic amplification

Kim, Kwang-Yul; Hamlington, Benjamin D.; Na, Hanna; Kim, Jinju

Sea ice loss is proposed as a primary reason for the Arctic amplification, although the physical mechanism of the Arctic amplification and its connection with sea ice melting is still in debate. In the present study, monthly ERA-Interim reanalysis data are analyzed via cyclostationary empirical orthogonal function analysis to understand the seasonal mechanism of sea ice loss in the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic amplification. While sea ice loss is widespread over much of the perimeter of the Arctic Ocean in summer, sea ice remains thin in winter only in the Barents–Kara seas. Excessive turbulent heat flux through the sea surface exposed to air due to sea ice reduction warms the atmospheric column. Warmer air increases the downward longwave radiation and subsequently surface air temperature, which facilitates sea surface remains to be free of ice. This positive feedback mechanism is not clearly observed in the Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas, since sea ice refreezes in late fall (November) before excessive turbulent heat flux is available for warming the atmospheric column in winter. A detailed seasonal heat budget is presented in order to understand specific differences between the Barents–Kara seas and Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas.

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Kim, Kwang-Yul / Hamlington, Benjamin D. / Na, Hanna / et al: Mechanism of seasonal Arctic sea ice evolution and Arctic amplification. 2016. Copernicus Publications.

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