Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Tropical climate responses to projected Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice loss

TitleTropical climate responses to projected Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice loss
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsEngland M.R, Polvani L.M, Sun L.T, Deser C.
Date Published2020/04
Type of ArticleArticle; Early Access
ISBN Number1752-0894
Accession NumberWOS:000519843400005
Keywordsatmospheric response; circulation; cover; decline; Geology; heat-transport; impact; mechanism; meridional modes; pacific; robust
Abstract

Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice extent are both projected to dramatically decline over the coming century. The effects of Arctic sea-ice loss are not limited to the northern high latitudes, and reach deep into the tropics. Yet little is known about the effects of future Antarctic sea-ice loss outside of the southern high latitudes. Here, using a fully coupled climate model, we investigate the tropical response to Antarctic sea-ice loss and compare it with the response to Arctic sea-ice loss. We show that Antarctic sea-ice loss, similar to Arctic sea-ice loss, causes enhanced warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific and an equatorward intensification of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. We demonstrate that Antarctic sea-ice loss causes a mini global warming signal comparable to the one caused by Arctic sea-ice loss, and reminiscent of the response to greenhouse gases. We also show that ocean dynamics are key to capturing the tropical response to sea-ice loss. In short, we find that future Antarctic sea-ice loss will exert a profound influence on the tropics. Combined Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice losses will account for 20-30% of the projected tropical warming and precipitation changes under the high-emissions scenario Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5. Antarctic sea-ice loss causes enhanced warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific, and together with Arctic sea-ice loss accounts for 20-30% of projected warming and rainfall changes in the tropics, suggest climate model simulations.

DOI10.1038/s41561-020-0546-9
Student Publication: 
No