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Can Natural Variability Explain Observed Antarctic Sea Ice Trends? New Modeling Evidence from CMIP5

Lorenzo M. Polvani; Karen L. Smith

Title:
Can Natural Variability Explain Observed Antarctic Sea Ice Trends? New Modeling Evidence from CMIP5
Author(s):
Polvani, Lorenzo M.
Smith, Karen L.
Date:
Type:
Articles
Department(s):
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Volume:
40
Persistent URL:
Book/Journal Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
Abstract:
The recent observed positive trends in total Antarctic sea ice extent are at odds with the expectation of melting sea ice in a warming world. More problematic yet, climate models indicate that sea ice should decrease around Antarctica in response to both increasing greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depletion. The resolution of this puzzle, we suggest, may lie in the large natural variability of the coupled atmosphere‒ocean‒sea‒ice system. Contrasting forced and control integrations from four state‒of‒the‒art Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we show that the observed Antarctic sea ice trend falls well within the distribution of trends arising naturally in the system, and that the forced response in the models is small compared to the natural variability. From this, we conclude that it may prove difficult to attribute the observed trends in total Antarctic sea ice to anthropogenic forcings, although some regional features might be easier to explain.
Subject(s):
Atmosphere
Oceanography
Climatic changes
Publisher DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1002/grl.50578
Item views
246
Metadata:
text | xml
Suggested Citation:
Lorenzo M. Polvani, Karen L. Smith, , Can Natural Variability Explain Observed Antarctic Sea Ice Trends? New Modeling Evidence from CMIP5, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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