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Journal Article

Anthropogenic influence on recent circulation-driven Antarctic sea-ice changes

MPS-Authors

Haumann,  F. Alexander
Max Planck Research Group The Sea Ice in the Earth System, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Notz,  Dirk
Max Planck Research Group The Sea Ice in the Earth System, The Ocean in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Schmidt,  Hauke
Middle and Upper Atmosphere, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Haumann, F. A., Notz, D., & Schmidt, H. (2014). Anthropogenic influence on recent circulation-driven Antarctic sea-ice changes. Geophysical Research Letters, 41, 8429-8437. doi:10.1002/2014GL061659.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-478D-4
Abstract
Observations reveal an increase of Antarctic sea ice over the past three decades, yet global climate models tend to simulate a sea-ice decrease for that period. Here, we combine observations with model experiments (MPI-ESM) to investigate causes for this discrepancy and for the observed sea-ice increase. Based on observations and atmospheric reanalysis, we show that on multi-decadal time scales Antarctic sea-ice changes are linked to intensified meridional winds that are caused by a zonally asymmetric lowering of the high-latitude surface pressure. In our simulations, this surface-pressure lowering is a response to a combination of anthropogenic stratospheric ozone depletion and greenhouse gas increase. Combining these two lines of argument, we infer a possible anthropogenic influence on the observed sea-ice changes. However, similar to other models, MPI-ESM simulates a surface-pressure response that is rather zonally symmetric, which explains why the simulated sea-ice response differs from observations.