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Quantifying the role of ocean coupling in Arctic amplification and sea-ice loss over the 21st centuryThe enhanced warming of the Arctic, relative to other parts of the Earth, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification, is one of the most striking features of climate change, and has important climatic impacts for the entire Northern Hemisphere. Several mechanisms are believed to be responsible for Arctic amplification; however, a quantitative understanding of their relative importance is still missing. Here, using ensembles of model integrations, we quantify the contribution of ocean coupling, both its thermodynamic and dynamic components, to Arctic amplification over the 20th and 21st centuries. We show that ocean coupling accounts for ~80% of the amplification by 2100. In particular, we show that thermodynamic coupling is responsible for future amplification and sea-ice loss as it overcomes the effect of dynamic coupling which reduces the amplification and sea-ice loss by ~35%. Our results demonstrate the utility of targeted numerical experiments to quantify the role of specific mechanisms in Arctic amplification, for better constraining climate projections.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Rei Chemke ORCID(Columbia University New York, New York, United States)
Lorenzo M. Polvani ORCID(Columbia University New York, New York, United States)
Jennifer E. Kay (University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, Colorado, United States)
Clara Orbe (Goddard Institute for Space Studies New York, New York, United States)
Date Acquired
July 27, 2021
Publication Date
October 8, 2021
Publication Information
Publication: npj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Volume: 4
Issue: 46
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 509496.
Distribution Limits
Use by or on behalf of the US Gov. Permitted.
Technical Review
External Peer Committee
Ocean heat transport
Sea ice loss
ocean coupling
Arctic amplification
sea-ice loss

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