University of Cambridge > > British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series > The role of ocean heat transport from the Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean on sea ice variability

The role of ocean heat transport from the Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean on sea ice variability

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Shenjie Zhou.

The decrease of Arctic sea ice affects the future climate in the Arctic and beyond. Therefore, it is important to understand the drivers of sea ice variability and trend. Available observations of the Atlantic inflow to the Barents Sea show a strong negative correlation with sea ice area and extent in Barents Sea over the period from 1997 to 2010. Several observational and model studies conclude that the ocean heat transport is the main driver for sea ice decrease and variability. In our study, we analyse a historical 9 member simulation with the UK Earth System Model (UKESM1) performed for CMIP6 from 1850 to 2014 and ocean – sea ice simulations forced by atmospheric reanalysis data with the same ocean model NEM Ov3.6 and sea ice model CIC Ev5.1. Over the whole 165y period, the UKESM simulation confirms previous findings showing that the ocean heat transport between Norway and Svalbard (Barents Sea Opening; BSO ) is strongly correlated with the winter sea ice extent in the Barents Sea. However, this correlation is only caused by decadal variability and there is no correlation in the shorter atmospheric-forced simulations. All simulations show a strong correlation between the annual mean incoming longwave radiation with winter sea ice extent and thickness. It is evident that the atmospheric circulation is the main driver of sea ice winter variability: Southerly winds push sea ice northwards, advect warm and moist air into the Barents Sea, increase the incoming longwave radiation and the melting from top and, thus, cause a low sea ice extent.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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