High-Latitude Application and Testing of Global and Regional Climate Models (HiLAT)

The Earth's climate is changing most rapidly in the polar regions. These high-latitude changes have local and global implications for the Nation. Sea-level rise poses risks to coastal energy infrastructure. Reductions in Arctic sea ice are leading to increased exploration for fossil fuel resources and to increased commercial transport through the Arctic. Warming at high latitudes appears to impact mid- and low-latitude weather extremes through changes in atmosphere and ocean circulation.  The HiLAT project was created to answer high-latitude climate change questions important to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the nation, through targeted application of global modeling and analysis capabilities for representing evolving polar processes and their impacts.

We are using climate model simulations to quantify feedbacks between the cryosphere and the Earth's heat and water budgets to improve our projections of high-latitude climate change and the resulting regional and global impacts. Examples of questions we will address are:

  • Are changes in Arctic sea-ice cover, combined with tropical Pacific changes, influencing mid-latitude weather extremes?
  • How do recent changes in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice impact marine and ice ecosystems and polar clouds?
  • How do freshwater and nutrient inputs from ice sheet melting (Greenland and Antarctica) and Arctic river inputs affect marine ecosystems, aerosol production and carbon sequestration?
  • Does enhanced freshwater input from the Antarctic ice sheet contribute to Southern Hemisphere sea-ice expansion through changes in Southern Ocean stratification?
  • Will changes in Arctic Ocean circulation and connections with the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) change decadal variability in the climate system?
  • How will the Southern Ocean overturning and Antarctic Bottom Water formation respond as a result of competing changes in atmospheric wind forcing, upwelling, sea-ice changes and fresh water inputs from ice sheet melt?
  • Is polar amplification weaker in the Antarctic due to water vapor transport and lapse rate feedbacks resulting from changes in land mass and sea-ice distribution?
Project Term: 
2015 to 2017
Project Type: 
Laboratory Funded Research


A Morphology Independent Methodology for Quantifying Planview River Change and Characteristics from Remotely Sensed Imagery
Abundance of fluorescent biological aerosol particles at temperatures conducive to the formation of mixed-phase and cirrus clouds
Basin-Scale Heterogeneity in Antarctic Precipitation and its Impact on Surface Mass Variability
CMIP5 Temperature biases and 21st Century Warming around the Antarctic Coast
Global Source Attribution of Sulfate Concentration and Direct and Indirect Radiative Forcing
Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project (ISMIP6) contribution to CMIP6
Increased Ocean Heat Convergence Into the High Latitudes With CO2 Doubling Enhances Polar-Amplified Warming
Local Atmospheric Response to an Open-Ocean Polynya in a High-Resolution Climate Model
OCEANFILMS-2: Representing co-adsorption of saccharides in marine films improves agreement of modelled and observed marine aerosol chemistry
Present‐Day and Future Antarctic Ice Sheet Climate and Surface Mass Balance in the Community Earth System Model
Source Attribution of Black Carbon and its Direct Radiative Forcing in China
Sulfate Aerosol in the Arctic: Source Attribution and Radiative Forcing
Technical note: Simultaneous fully dynamic characterization of multiple input–output relationships in climate models
The CMIP6 Sea Ice Model Intercomparison Project (SIMIP): Understanding sea ice through climate-model simulations
The Role of Jet and Film Drops in Controlling the Mixing State of Submicron Sea Spray Aerosol Particles
Uncertainty Quantification and Global Sensitivity Analysis of the Los Alamos Sea Ice Model
Validation of Sea Ice Models Using an Uncertainty-Based Distance Metric for Multiple Model Variables

Research Highlights:

A Cheaper Way to Understand Teleconnections in Climate Models Highlight Presentation
A Global Sensitivity Analysis Identifies Main Parameters Driving Uncertainty in Los Alamos Sea Ice Model (CICE) Highlight Presentation
An Uncertainty-based Distance Metric for Validation of Sea Ice Models is Developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory Highlight Presentation
Cloud Formation from Flying Bacteria and Spores Highlight Presentation
Comparing Model Predictions of Antarctic Ocean Warming that Drives Sea Level Rise Highlight
Increased Ocean Heat Convergence Into the High Latitudes With CO2 Doubling Enhances Polar-Amplified Warming Highlight Presentation
Polynyas’ Impact on Atmosphere Depends on Wind Direction Highlight Presentation
Quantifying Arctic Soot: What Drives the Climate-Changing Particle Highlight
Sea Spray Particles: Same Water, Different Chemistry Highlight Presentation
Source Attribution of Black Carbon in China Highlight Presentation
Sourcing Sulfate and its Effect on Earth’s Energy Balance Highlight Presentation
Sticky Organic Ocean Spray Highlight Presentation
Sulfate Aerosol in the Arctic: Source Attribution and Radiative Forcing Highlight Presentation
The CMIP6 Sea Ice Model Intercomparison Project (SIMIP) Highlight Presentation
The Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison Project for CMIP6 (ISMIP6) Highlight Presentation