16 September 2017

Extreme Weather and Climate Events with Ecological Relevance: A review


To follow up on other related studies and to explore processes a bit more, these changes are first studied in freely-running coupled climate model simulations where they are not generally seen, but they are reproduced in simulations of two independent coupled climate models.  One is constrained by observed sea surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific, and the other by observed surface wind-stress in the tropics. Our analysis confirms previous results and strengthens the conclusion that the phase change in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation from positive to negative over 1979-2013 contributed to the observed strengthening of the Amundsen Sea Low and the associated pattern of Antarctic sea ice change during this period. New support for this conclusion is provided by simulated trends in spatial patterns of sea ice concentrations that are similar to those observed. 




These results highlight the importance of accounting for teleconnections from low to high latitudes in both model simulations and observations of Antarctic sea ice variability and change.




The seemingly counter-intuitive observed increase of Antarctic sea ice extent in the face of a warming planet is traced to a strengthening of the Amundsen Sea Low from 1979-2013 that largely explains the observed increase in sea ice concentrations in the eastern Ross Sea. 


Gerald Meehl
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Meehl, G. "Extreme Weather and Climate Events with Ecological Relevance: A review." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 372, 20160135 (2017). [10.1098/rstb.2016.0135].