Dec 27, 2016

Attribution of extreme events in Arctic sea ice extent

Megan C. Kirchmeier-Young
AMS Journal of Climate
  • States that Arctic sea ice extent (SIE) has decreased over recent decades, with record-setting minimum events in 2007 and again in 2012
  • Performs a detection and attribution analysis for trends in SIE anomalies over the observed period
  • The main objective of this study is an event attribution analysis for extreme minimum events in Arctic SIE; although focus is placed on the 2012 event, the results are generalized to extreme events of other magnitudes, including both past and potential future extremes
  • Uses several ensembles of model responses, including two single-model large ensembles
  • Finds that an extreme SIE minimum of the magnitude seen in 2012 is consistent with a scenario including anthropogenic influence and is extremely unlikely in a scenario excluding anthropogenic influence
  • Concludes that the 2012 Arctic sea ice minimum provides a counterexample to the often-quoted idea that individual extreme events cannot be attributed to human influence