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Atmosphere 2018, 9(9), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9090331

Effects of Northern Hemisphere Atmospheric Blocking on Arctic Sea Ice Decline in Winter at Weekly Time Scales

Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 21 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Processes Shaping Arctic Climate)
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Abstract

In this study, the effects of the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric blocking circulation on Arctic sea ice decline at weekly time scales are examined by defining four key regions based on observational data analysis. Given the regression analysis, the frequently occurring atmospheric patterns related to the sea ice decline in four key sea regions (Baffin Bay, Barents-Kara Seas, Okhotsk Sea and Bering Sea) are found to be Greenland blocking (GB), Ural blocking (UB), western Pacific blocking (PB-W) and eastern Pacific blocking (PB-E), respectively. The results show that the regional blocking frequency is higher (lower) in lower (higher) sea ice winters for each key region. Moreover, composite analysis indicates that blocking evolution is usually accompanied by significant sea ice decline at weekly time scales during the blocking life cycle for each key region. In addition, the intensified surface downward infrared radiation (IR) anomaly and the precipitable water for the entire atmosphere (PWA) in each key region are found to make significant contributions to the positive surface air temperature (SAT) anomaly, which is beneficial for the reduction in sea ice. The approximate quantitative analysis of different surface energy fluxes induced by blocking is also applied. Further analysis shows that the blocking event and the associated changes in SAT and radiation anomalies for each key region lead the sea ice decline by approximately 3~6 days. This result indicates that regional blocking can contribute to regional sea ice decline at weekly time scales through surface warming associated with enhanced water vapor and associated IR variations. Further quantitative estimates indicate that regional blocking can reduce regional sea ice cover (SIC) by 49.6%, 49.4%, 52.2% and 49.5% for Baffin Bay, Barents-Kara Seas, Okhotsk Sea and Bering Sea, respectively, during the blocking life cycle. Finally, a physical process diagrammatic sketch is given to illustrate how blocking affects SIC decline. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmospheric blocking; Arctic sea ice; weekly time scales; lead-lag relationship atmospheric blocking; Arctic sea ice; weekly time scales; lead-lag relationship
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Yao, Y.; Luo, D.; Zhong, L. Effects of Northern Hemisphere Atmospheric Blocking on Arctic Sea Ice Decline in Winter at Weekly Time Scales. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 331.

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