Stammerjohn, Sharon, Massom, Robert, Rind, David, Martinson, Douglas

Geophysical Research Letters

Published date March 16, 2012

Regions of rapid sea ice change: An inter-hemispheric seasonal comparison

  • Resolves ice edge changes on space/time scales relevant for investigating seasonal ice-ocean feedbacks and focuses on spatio-temporal changes in the timing of annual sea ice retreat and advance over 1979/80 to 2010/11
  • Finds where Arctic sea ice decrease is fastest, the sea ice retreat is now nearly 2 months earlier and subsequent advance more than 1 month later (compared to 1979/80), resulting in a 3-month longer summer ice-free season. In the Antarctic Peninsula and Bellingshausen Sea region, sea ice retreat is more than 1 month earlier and advance 2 months later, resulting in a more than 3-month longer summer ice-free season
  • Finds in contrast, in the western Ross Sea (Antarctica) region, sea ice retreat and advance are more than 1 month later and earlier respectively, resulting in a more than 2 month shorter summer ice-free season
  • Finds a strong correspondence at latitudes mostly poleward of 70° (N/S) between anomalies in the timings of sea ice retreat and subsequent advance, but little correspondence between advance and subsequent retreat (regardless of trend magnitude or direction)
  • Results support a strong ocean thermal feedback in autumn in response to changes in spring sea ice retreat
  • Model calculations suggest different net ocean heat changes in the Arctic versus Antarctic where autumn sea ice advance is 1 versus 2 months later
  • Discusses and compares ocean-atmosphere changes, particularly in boreal spring and austral autumn (i.e., during ∼March-May), as well as possible inter-hemispheric climate connections