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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-60
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-60
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 10 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Analyzing links between simulated Laptev Sea sea ice and atmospheric conditions over adjoining landmasses using causal-effect networks

Zoé Rehder1,2,a, Anne Laura Niederdrenk1, Lars Kaleschke3,a, and Lars Kutzbach4 Zoé Rehder et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 2International Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Klußmannstr. 3d, 27570 Bremerhaven
  • 4Universität Hamburg, Allende-Platz 2, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • aformerly at: Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. The connection between permafrost and sea ice in the Arctic is not fully understood. As a first step, we investigate how sea ice interacts with the atmosphere over the permafrost landscape. Prior research established that Arctic-wide sea-ice loss can lead to a warming over circumpolar landmasses. However, it is still unclear which physical mechanisms drive this connection. We address this by identifying these physical mechanisms as well as local and large-scale drivers of sea-ice cover with a focus on one region with highly variable sea-ice cover and high sea-ice productivity: the Laptev Sea region. We analyze the output of coupled a ocean-sea ice-atmosphere-hydrological discharge model with two statistical methods. With the recently developed Causal Effect Networks we identify temporal links between different variables, while we use composites of high- and low-sea-ice-cover years to reveal spatial patterns and mean changes in variables.

We find that in the model local sea-ice cover is a driven rather than a driving variable. Springtime melt of sea ice in the Laptev Sea is mainly controlled by atmospheric large-scale circulation, mediated through meridional wind speed and ice export. During refreeze in fall thermodynamic variables and feedback mechanisms are important - sea-ice cover is interconnected with air temperature, thermal radiation and specific humidity. Though low sea-ice cover leads to an enhanced southward transport of heat and moisture throughout summer, links from sea-ice cover to the atmosphere over land are weak, and both sea ice in the Laptev Sea and the atmospheric conditions over the adjacent landmasses are mainly controlled by common external drivers.

Zoé Rehder et al.

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Short summary
Permafrost and sea ice are vulnerable to climate change and both can exert a positive feedback on global warming. Yet we do not fully understand how these two components interact with each other. As a first step, we improve the understanding of the connection between sea ice and the atmosphere over land in the Laptev Sea. Though low sea-ice cover leads to an enhanced atmospheric transport of heat and moisture from ocean to land, both sea ice and the atmosphere over land are driven externally.
Permafrost and sea ice are vulnerable to climate change and both can exert a positive feedback...
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