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Publication Date
18 October 2017

Increased Ocean Heat Convergence Into the High Latitudes With CO2 Doubling Enhances Polar-Amplified Warming



We isolate the role of the ocean in polar climate change by directly evaluating how changes in ocean dynamics with quasi‐equilibrium CO2 doubling impact high‐latitude climate. With CO2 doubling, the ocean heat flux convergence (OHFC) shifts poleward in winter in both hemispheres. Imposing this pattern of perturbed OHFC in a global climate model results in a poleward shift in ocean‐to‐atmosphere turbulent heat fluxes (both sensible and latent) and sea ice retreat; the high latitudes warm, while the midlatitudes cool, thereby amplifying polar warming. Furthermore, midlatitude cooling is propagated to the polar midtroposphere on isentropic surfaces, augmenting the (positive) lapse rate feedback at high latitudes. These results highlight the key role played by the partitioning of meridional energy transport changes between the atmosphere and ocean in high‐latitude climate change.

“Increased Ocean Heat Convergence Into The High Latitudes With Co2 Doubling Enhances Polar-Amplified Warming”. 2017. Geophysical Research Letters 44: 10,583-10,591. doi:10.1002/2017gl074561.
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