Atlantic Sea Ice Could Grow in the Next Decade: Changing ocean circulation in the North Atlantic could lead to winter sea ice coverage remaining steady and even growing in select regions.
“They [Yeager and colleagues] found that decadal-scale trends in Arctic winter sea ice extent are largely explained by changes in ocean circulation rather than by large-scale external factors like anthropogenic warming….” [my bold]
One fact Strelich does not mention is that the predictions made by Yeager and colleagues extend to 2023 and that their predictions included ice levels off Labrador and northern Newfoundland (the Labrador Sea). Read the rest of her EOS summary here.
Note this is winter (January-March) sea ice being discussed, which adds to previous predictions (Swart et al. 2015) that the current hiatus of summer (July–September) sea ice extent (evident from 2007 to at least 2015) could last another decade or more – a point I raised in EATEN and therefore listed in its Recommended Reading. See map below for what recent winter sea ice looked like in the Atlantic (at 8 March 2014).
Two quotes from the original paper (Yeager et al. 2015, pdf below) are worth noting:
“Observed 10 year trends in Arctic winter sea ice extent have varied considerably over the satellite era, with the most rapid sea ice loss occurring in the decade 1997–2007.”
[From the caption to Figure 3}:
“…initialized predictions suggest that we should expect growth or near-neutral maintenance of Atlantic winter sea ice extent in the coming years. The sea ice growth predicted for the 2007–2017 period (+0.27 × 106 km2/decade) is associated with SST cooling throughout the Labrador, Irminger, and Nordic Seas and a systematic expansion of the winter sea ice edge in the Atlantic sector, particularly in the Barents Sea …. The most recent CESM DP prediction (for the 2013–2023 period) shows a neutral trend for the Atlantic sector as a whole, but a continued rebound of winter sea ice in the Barents Sea.” [my bold]
Strelich, L. 2016. Atlantic sea ice could grow in the next decade, Eos 97 doi:10.1029/2016EO044955. Published on 4 February 2016.
Swart, N.C., Fyfe, J.C., Hawkins, E., Kay, J.E. and Jahn, A. 2015. Influence of internal variability on Arctic sea-ice trends. Nature Climate Change 5(2): 86–89. [Discusses the lack of a declining trend in summer sea ice coverage from 2007-2014, which could continue until 2024 or beyond] http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n2/full/nclimate2483.html
Yeager, S.G., Karspeck, A.R. and Danabasoglu, G. 2015. Predicted slowdown in the rate of Atlantic sea ice loss. Geophysical Research Letters 42(24):10704–10713 DOI: 10.1002/2015GL065364 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/2015GL065364/abstract Pdf here.