Apr 12, 2016

Dynamical link between the Barents-Kara Sea ice and the Arctic Oscillation

Xiao-Yi Yang, Xiaojun Yuan, and Mingfang Ting
American Meteorological Society

This study connecting sea ice loss in the fall with winter weather patterns that affect the mid-latitudes builds on the work of seasonal forecaster and researcher Judah Cohen, who identified a similar relationship.

“More and more studies are being published that changes in the Arctic are influencing mid-latitude weather,” said climate scientist, Judah Cohen

  • Suggests the accelerated melting of Arctic sea ice in recent decades and an increase in Greenland blocking are probably linked
  • Explores the dynamical processes that link November sea ice in the Barents and Kara Seas with the development of AO anomalies in February
  • Finds the large-scale atmospheric circulation goes through a series of dynamical adjustment processes in response to the lower tropospheric warming associated with the initial thermal effect of the sea ice loss
    • Finds the decelerated zonal-mean zonal wind anomalies propagate gradually from the subarctic to mid-latitudes in about one month
    • Finds the equivalent barotropic AO dipole pattern develops in January due to wave-mean flow interaction, and firmly establishes itself in February following the weakening and warming of the stratospheric polar vortex
  • Finds the observed trend toward a more negative Arctic Oscillation in winter “may be partly associated to the early winter sea ice loss” in the Barents and Kara Seas region of the Arctic