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Record 2 of 333
Importance of Sea Ice for Validating Global Climate Models
Author and Affiliation:
Geiger, Cathleen A.(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD United States)
Abstract: Reproduction of current day large-scale physical features and processes is a critical test of global climate model performance. Without this benchmark, prognoses of future climate conditions are at best speculation. A fundamental question relevant to this issue is, which processes and observations are both robust and sensitive enough to be used for model validation and furthermore are they also indicators of the problem at hand? In the case of global climate, one of the problems at hand is to distinguish between anthropogenic and naturally occuring climate responses. The polar regions provide an excellent testing ground to examine this problem because few humans make their livelihood there, such that anthropogenic influences in the polar regions usually spawn from global redistribution of a source originating elsewhere. Concomitantly, polar regions are one of the few places where responses to climate are non-anthropogenic. Thus, if an anthropogenic effect has reached the polar regions (e.g. the case of upper atmospheric ozone sensitivity to CFCs), it has most likely had an impact globally but is more difficult to sort out from local effects in areas where anthropogenic activity is high. Within this context, sea ice has served as both a monitoring platform and sensitivity parameter of polar climate response since the time of Fridtjof Nansen. Sea ice resides in the polar regions at the air-sea interface such that changes in either the global atmospheric or oceanic circulation set up complex non-linear responses in sea ice which are uniquely determined. Sea ice currently covers a maximum of about 7% of the earth's surface but was completely absent during the Jurassic Period and far more extensive during the various ice ages. It is also geophysically very thin (typically <10 m in Arctic, <3 m in Antarctic) compared to the troposphere (roughly 10 km) and deep ocean (roughly 3 to 4 km). Because of these unique conditions, polar researchers regard sea ice as one of the more important features to monitor in terms of heat, mass, and momentum transfer between the air and sea and furthermore, the impact of such responses to global climate.
Publication Date: Jan 01, 1997
Document ID:
20000038142
(Acquired May 12, 2000)
Subject Category: ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION
Document Type: Reprint
Publication Information: Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes Research Publications; p. 209-210
Meeting Information: Polar Processes in Global Climate; 13-15 Nov. 1996; Cancun; Mexico
Financial Sponsor: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Greenbelt, MD United States
Organization Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Greenbelt, MD United States
Description: 2p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright
NASA Terms: CLIMATE MODELS; CLIMATOLOGY; ENVIRONMENT EFFECTS; SEA ICE; OCEAN SURFACE; ANTARCTIC REGIONS; ARCTIC REGIONS; CLIMATE CHANGE; ENVIRONMENT MODELS; POLAR REGIONS; TROPOSPHERE; WATER DEPTH; MASS TRANSFER; ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION
Imprint And Other Notes: Repr. from Workshop on Polar Processes in Global Climate, (American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA) p 122-125
Availability Source: Other Sources
Availability Notes: Abstract Only
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