Observed Atmospheric Coupling between Barents Sea Ice and the Warm-Arctic Cold-Siberian Anomaly Pattern Public Deposited

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  • The decline in Barents Sea ice has been implicated in forcing the “warm-Arctic cold-Siberian” (WACS) anomaly pattern via enhanced turbulent heat flux (THF). This study investigates interannual variability in winter [December–February (DJF)] Barents Sea THF and its relationship to Barents Sea ice and the large-scale atmospheric flow. ERA-Interim and observational data from 1979/80 to 2011/12 are used. The leading pattern (EOF1: 33%) of winter Barents Sea THF variability is relatively weakly correlated (r = 0.30) with Barents Sea ice and appears to be driven primarily by atmospheric variability. The sea ice–related THF variability manifests itself as EOF2 (20%, r = 0.60). THF EOF2 is robust over the entire winter season, but its link to the WACS pattern is not. However, the WACS pattern emerges consistently as the second EOF (20%) of Eurasian surface air temperature (SAT) variability in all winter months. When Eurasia is cold, there are indeed weak reductions in Barents Sea ice, but the associated THF anomalies are on average negative, which is inconsistent with the proposed direct atmospheric response to sea ice variability. Lead–lag correlation analyses on shorter time scales support this conclusion and indicate that atmospheric variability plays an important role in driving observed variability in Barents Sea THF and ice cover, as well as the WACS pattern.
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  • Sorokina, S. A., Li, C., Wettstein, J. J., & Kvamstø, N. G. (2016). Observed Atmospheric Coupling between Barents Sea Ice and the Warm-Arctic Cold-Siberian Anomaly Pattern. Journal of Climate, 29(2), 495-511. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0046.1
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  • 29
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  • 2
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  • This work was supported by the NordForsk TRI program under project GREENICE 61841 (CL, JJW), the Research Council of Norway under projects CLIMARC 225032 and Bjerknes Compensation 227137 (SAS), and the Centre for Climate Dynamics (SKD) at the Bjerknes Centre (CL). JJW acknowledges support from the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation.
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