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Publication Date
8 October 2021

Understanding the Cold Season Arctic Surface Warming Trend in Recent Decades



Whether sea-ice loss or lapse-rate feedback dominates the Arctic amplification (AA) remains an open question. Analysis of data sets based upon observations reveals a 1.11 K per decade surface warming trend in the Arctic (70°–90°N) during 1979–2020 cold season (October–February) that is five times higher than the corresponding global mean. Based on surface energy budget analysis, we show that the largest contribution (∼82%) to this cold season warming trend is attributed to changes in clearsky downward longwave radiation. In contrast to that in Arctic summer and over tropics, a reduction in lower-tropospheric inversions plays a unique role in explaining the reduction of the downward longwave radiation associated with atmospheric nonuniform temperature and corresponding moisture changes. Our analyses also suggest that Arctic lower-tropospheric stability should be considered in conjunction with sea-ice decline during the preceding warm season to explain AA.

Zhang, Rudong, Hailong Wang, Qiang Fu, Philip J. Rasch, Mingxuan Wu, and Wieslaw Maslowski. 2021. “Understanding The Cold Season Arctic Surface Warming Trend In Recent Decades”. Geophysical Research Letters 48. doi:10.1029/2021gl094878.
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