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The Effect of QBO Phase on the Atmospheric Response to Projected Arctic Sea Ice Loss in Early Winter

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The Effect of QBO Phase on the Atmospheric Response to Projected Arctic Sea Ice Loss in Early Winter


Authors:  Zachary Labe,  Yannick Peings and Gudrun Magnusdottir


Published online:   24th June, 2019



Recent modeling studies have shown an important role for stratosphere‐troposphere coupling in the large‐scale atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice loss. Evidence is growing that the Quasi‐biennial Oscillation (QBO) can contribute to or even mitigate teleconnections from surface forcing. Here, the influence of QBO phase on the atmospheric response to projected Arctic sea ice loss is examined using an atmospheric general circulation model with a well‐resolved stratosphere and a QBO prescribed from observations. The role of the QBO is determined by compositing seasons with easterly phase (QBO‐E) separately from seasons with westerly phase (QBO‐W). In response to the sea ice forcing in early winter, the polar vortex during QBO‐E weakens with strong stratosphere‐troposphere wave‐1 coupling and a negative Northern Annular Mode‐type response. At the surface, this results in more severe Siberian cold spells. For QBO‐W, the polar vortex strengthens in response to the sea ice forcing.


Plain Language Summary:

Rapid loss of Arctic sea ice area and thickness are key indicators of global climate change. Global climate models project further loss of Arctic sea ice through the end of the 21st century. How weather patterns and the jet stream will respond to this sudden loss of sea ice is still poorly understood. Here we use a series of climate model experiments to understand how the atmospheric response to sea ice loss is affected by alternating easterly and westerly winds in the tropical middle atmosphere, known as the Quasi‐biennial Oscillation. We show that the Quasi‐biennial Oscillation has an important role in understanding how weather patterns can respond to a decrease in sea ice.


Link to full article:  This new paper is still behind the AGU100 paywall - subscibers can access here:  https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2019GL083095 


Fortunately, Zach Labe has copied most of it to his own website - link here:   https://sites.uci.edu/zlabe/qbo-and-arctic-sea-ice/


Before that Zach Labe made a poster presentation on this subject at the 20th Conference on Middle Atmosphere, Phoenix, AZ (Jan 2019):

Link to Poster Charts:  https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm18/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/399117

Link to presentation Summary:  https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm18/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/399117.

Link to 15 minute video:  https://ams.confex.com/ams/2019Annual/videogateway.cgi/id/51083?recordingid=51083 


Zach labe also presentented at the AGU Fall meeting in December 2018:  https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm18/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/399117



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