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New research focused on the mechanisms and rates of how snow and ice is lost to the ocean from the land, along with studies of…
Consistency and discrepancy in the atmospheric response to Arctic sea-ice loss across climate models
The decline of Arctic sea ice is an integral part of anthropogenic climate change. Sea-ice loss is already having a significant
impact on Arctic communities and ecosystems. Its role as a cause of climate changes outside of the Arctic has also attracted
much scientific interest. Evidence is mounting that Arctic sea-ice loss can affect weather and climate throughout the Northern
Hemisphere. The remote impacts of Arctic sea-ice loss can only be properly represented using models that simulate interactions
among the ocean, sea ice, land and atmosphere. A synthesis of six such experiments with different models shows consistent
hemispheric-wide atmospheric warming, strongest in the mid-to-high-latitude lower troposphere; an intensification of the
wintertime Aleutian Low and, in most cases, the Siberian High; a weakening of the Icelandic Low; and a reduction in strength
and southward shift of the mid-latitude westerly winds in winter. The atmospheric circulation response seems to be sensitive to
the magnitude and geographic pattern of sea-ice loss and, in some cases, to the background climate state. However, it is unclear
whether current-generation climate models respond too weakly to sea-ice change. We advocate for coordinated experiments
that use different models and observational constraints to quantify the climate response to Arctic sea-ice loss.