Sea ice loss and accelerated warming in the Barents Sea have recently been one of the main concerns of climate research. In this study, we investigated the trends and possible relationships between sea surface temperature (SST), sea ice concentration (SIC), and local and large-scale atmospheric parameters over the last 39 years (1982 to 2020). We examined the interannual and long-term spatiotemporal variability of SST and SIC by performing an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. The SST warming rate from 1982 through 2020 was 0.35 ± 0.04 °C/decade and 0.40 ± 0.04 °C/decade in the ice-covered and ice-free regions, respectively. This climate warming had a significant impact on sea-ice conditions in the Barents Sea, such as a strong decline in the SIC (−6.52 ± 0.78%/decade) and a shortening of the sea-ice season by about −26.1 ± 7.5 days/decade, resulting in a 3.4-month longer summer ice-free period over the last 39 years. On the interannual and longer-term scales, the Barents Sea has shown strong coherent spatiotemporal variability in both SST and SIC. The temporal evolution of SST and SIC are strongly correlated, whereas the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) influences the spatiotemporal variability of SST and SIC. The highest spatial variability (i.e., the center of action of the first EOF mode) of SST was observed over the region bounded by the northern and southern polar fronts, which are influenced by both warm Atlantic and cold Arctic waters. The largest SIC variability was found over the northeastern Barents Sea and over the Storbanken and Olga Basin. The second EOF mode revealed a dipole structure with out-of-phase variability between the ice-covered and ice-free regions for the SST and between the Svalbard and Novaya Zemlya regions for SIC. In order to investigate the processes that generate these patterns, a correlation analysis was applied to a set of oceanic (SST) and atmospheric parameters (air temperature, zonal, and meridional wind components) and climate indices. This analysis showed that SST and SIC are highly correlated with air temperature and meridional winds and with two climate indices (AMO and East Atlantic Pattern (EAP)) on an interannual time scale. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) only correlated with the second EOF mode of SST on a decadal time scale.
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