CMIP5 Temperature biases and 21st Century Warming around the Antarctic Coast

TitleCMIP5 Temperature biases and 21st Century Warming around the Antarctic Coast
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLittle, Christopher M., and Urban Nathan M.
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Volume57
Number73
Pages69-78
Date Published09/2016
Abstract / Summary

Projections of ice-sheet mass balance require regional ocean warming projections derived from atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs). However, the coarse resolution of AOGCMs: (1) may lead to systematic or AOGCM-specific biases and (2) makes it difficult to identify relevant water masses. Here, we employ a large-scale metric of Antarctic Shelf Bottom Water (ASBW) to investigate circum-Antarctic temperature biases and warming projections in 19 different Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) AOGCMs forced with two different ‘representative concentration pathways’ (RCPs). For high-emissions RCP 8.5, the ensemble mean 21st century ASBW warming is 0.66, 0.74 and 0.58°C for the Amundsen, Ross and Weddell Seas (AS, RS and WS), respectively. RCP 2.6 ensemble mean projections are substantially lower: 0.21, 0.26, and 0.19°C. All distributions of regional ASBW warming are positively skewed; for RCP 8.5, four AOGCMs project warming of greater than 1.8°C in the RS. Across the ensemble, there is a strong, RCP-independent, correlation between WS and RS warming. AS warming is more closely linked to warming in the Southern Ocean. We discuss possible physical mechanisms underlying the spatial patterns of warming and highlight implications of these results on strategies for forcing ice-sheet mass balance projections.

URLhttps://doi.org/10.1017/aog.2016.25
DOI10.1017/aog.2016.25
Journal: Annals of Glaciology
Year of Publication: 2016
Volume: 57
Number: 73
Pages: 69-78
Date Published: 09/2016

Projections of ice-sheet mass balance require regional ocean warming projections derived from atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs). However, the coarse resolution of AOGCMs: (1) may lead to systematic or AOGCM-specific biases and (2) makes it difficult to identify relevant water masses. Here, we employ a large-scale metric of Antarctic Shelf Bottom Water (ASBW) to investigate circum-Antarctic temperature biases and warming projections in 19 different Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) AOGCMs forced with two different ‘representative concentration pathways’ (RCPs). For high-emissions RCP 8.5, the ensemble mean 21st century ASBW warming is 0.66, 0.74 and 0.58°C for the Amundsen, Ross and Weddell Seas (AS, RS and WS), respectively. RCP 2.6 ensemble mean projections are substantially lower: 0.21, 0.26, and 0.19°C. All distributions of regional ASBW warming are positively skewed; for RCP 8.5, four AOGCMs project warming of greater than 1.8°C in the RS. Across the ensemble, there is a strong, RCP-independent, correlation between WS and RS warming. AS warming is more closely linked to warming in the Southern Ocean. We discuss possible physical mechanisms underlying the spatial patterns of warming and highlight implications of these results on strategies for forcing ice-sheet mass balance projections.

DOI: 10.1017/aog.2016.25
Citation:
Little, CM, and NM Urban.  2016.  "CMIP5 Temperature biases and 21st Century Warming around the Antarctic Coast."  Annals of Glaciology 57(73): 69-78.  https://doi.org/10.1017/aog.2016.25.