Skip to Content

Separating sea ice from low latitude ocean influences in the atmospheric response to greenhouse gas forcing

Observations have shown that Arctic sea ice has been melting at a rapid rate over the past two decades and will likely continue to melt in response to continued greenhouse gas emissions. The melting ice is expected to impact the atmosphere through a thermally direct local response and a teleconnected indirect component. These impacts are not occurring in isolation, as warming at lower latitudes can also influence the atmospheric circulation. In this study, we investigate the relative roles that sea ice and low latitude warming play in the atmospheric response to future greenhouse gas forcing in the Community Earth/Climate System Model (CESM/CCSM). We have developed a method to separate the response into sea ice and low latitude temperature components using sea ice albedo perturbation experiments together with greenhouse gas forcing projections. I will show how the temperature, temperature variability, circulation and precipitation responses separate into these two components.