Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
The fall and winter seasons mark an important period in the evolution of Arctic sea ice, where energy is transferred away from the surface to facilitate the cooling of the surface and the growth of Arctic sea ice extent and thickness. Climatologically, these seasons are characterized by distinct periods of increased and reduced surface cooling and sea ice growth. Periods of reduced sea ice growth and cooling are associated with cloudy conditions and the transport of warm and moist air from lower latitudes, termed moisture intrusions or Arctic atmospheric rivers. In the research presented, we explore the regional and Arctic-wide impact of these atmospheric rivers on the surface net radiative fluxes and sea ice growth for each fall and winter season from 2000/01-2015/16, utilizing MERRA2 reanalysis data, PIOMAS sea ice thickness data, and daily CERES radiative flux data. Consistent with previous studies, we find that positive anomalies in downwelling longwave surface flux are associated with increased temperature and water vapor content in the atmospheric column transported poleward by the Arctic atmospheric rivers. Interestingly, there are periods of increased downwelling LW flux anomalies that persist for one week or longer (i.e. longer than synoptic timescales) that are associated with persistent poleward flux of warm, moist air from lower latitudes. These persistent anomalies significantly reduce the regional growth of Arctic sea ice, and may in part explain the interannual variability of fall and winter Arctic sea ice growth.
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