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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Springtime extrememoisture transport into the Arctic and its impact on sea ice concentration

  • Author(s): Yang, W
  • Magnusdottir, G
  • et al.

© 2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Recent studies suggest that springtime moisture transport into the Arctic can initiate sea ice melt that extends to a large area in the following summer and fall, which can help explain Arctic sea ice interannual variability. Yet the impact from an individual moisture transport event, especially the extreme ones, is unclear on synoptic to intraseasonal time scales and this is the focus of the current study. Springtime extreme moisture transport into the Arctic from a daily data set is found to be dominant over Atlantic longitudes. Lag composite analysis shows that these extreme events are accompanied by a substantial sea ice concentration reduction over the Greenland-Barents-Kara Seas that lasts around a week. Surface air temperature also becomes anomalously high over these seas and cold to the west of Greenland as well as over the interior Eurasian continent. The blocking weather regime over the North Atlantic is mainly responsible for the extreme moisture transport, occupying more than 60% of the total extreme days, while the negative North Atlantic Oscillation regime is hardly observed at all during the extreme transport days. These extreme moisture transport events appear to be preceded by eastward propagating large-scale tropical convective forcing by as long as 2 weeks but with great uncertainty due to lack of statistical significance.

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