Biological and Environmental Research - Earth and Environmental System Sciences
Earth and Environmental System Modeling

Evaluation of Climate Model Skill in Representing Upper Arctic Ocean Hydrography for its Potential Effect on Sea Ice

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - 08:00 to 12:20
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The satellite derived rate of sea ice cover decline in the Arctic for the past decades is faster than those simulated by the latest suite of models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), which is likely due to under-represented or missing high-latitude processes and feedbacks. We hypothesize that a critical source of energy in the Arctic Ocean, heat content accumulating below the surface mixed layer and above the Atlantic layer, has been increasing in magnitude and area, especially over the western Arctic marginal ice zone, and it may be contributing to the recent decline in the ice cover. Global and regional climate models must account for this heat content to more realistically simulate the altered regime of Arctic climate and its heat budget. We evaluate against observations results from the Regional Arctic System Model (RASM), including several model configurations, as well as output from other climate models to identify improvements needed to better represent upper Arctic Ocean hydrography and its impact on the sea ice cover.

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