1B.3 Suppressed Mid-Latitude Summer Atmospheric Warming by Arctic Sea Ice Loss during 1979-2012

Monday, 23 January 2017: 11:30 AM
609 (Washington State Convention Center )
Qigang Wu, Nanjing Univ., Nanjing, China

Since the 1980s, rapid Arctic warming, sea ice decline, and weakening summer circulation have coincided with an increasing number of extreme heatwaves and other destructive weather events in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) mid-latitudes in summer. Recent papers disagree about whether such high-impact events are related to Arctic warming and/or ice loss. Here we use atmospheric model ensemble simulations to attribute effects of sea ice loss and other factors on observed summer climate trends during 1979-2012. The ongoing greenhouse gas buildup and resulting sea surface temperature (SST) warming outside the Arctic explains nearly all land warming and a significant portion of observed weakening zonal winds in the NH mid-latitudes. However, sea ice loss has induced a negative Arctic Oscillation (AO)-type circulation with significant summer surface and tropospheric cooling trends over large portions of the NH mid-latitudes, which reduce the warming and might reduce the probability of regional severe hot summers.
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