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Precipitation shifts over western North America as a result of declining Arctic sea ice cover: The coupled system response

Jacob O. Sewall, | July 21, 2009
Summary

Changes in Arctic sea ice cover have the potential to impact midlatitude climate. A previous sensitivity study utilizing the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) atmospheric general circulation model [AGCM; Community Climate Model, version 3 (CCM3)] to explore climate sensitivity to declining Arctic sea ice cover suggested that, as Arctic sea ice cover is reduced, precipitation patterns over western North America will shift toward dryer conditions in southwestern North America and wetter conditions in northwestern North America. Here, three complementary lines of research validate and explore the robustness of this possible climate change impact: 1) repetition of the previous sensitivity study (specified constant Arctic sea ice cover and atmospheric CO2) with an updated version of the NCAR AGCM [third Community Atmosphere Model (CAM3)], 2) investigation of the climate response to dynamically reduced Arctic sea ice cover (driven by a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2) in the coupled NCAR Community Climate System Model.

Product Description

Changes in Arctic sea ice cover have the potential to impact midlatitude climate. A previous sensitivity study utilizing the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) atmospheric general circulation model [AGCM; Community Climate Model, version 3 (CCM3)] to explore climate sensitivity to declining Arctic sea ice cover suggested that, as Arctic sea ice cover is reduced, precipitation patterns over western North America will shift toward dryer conditions in southwestern North America and wetter conditions in northwestern North America. Here, three complementary lines of research validate and explore the robustness of this possible climate change impact: 1) repetition of the previous sensitivity study (specified constant Arctic sea ice cover and atmospheric CO2) with an updated version of the NCAR AGCM [third Community Atmosphere Model (CAM3)], 2) investigation of the climate response to dynamically reduced Arctic sea ice cover (driven by a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2) in the coupled NCAR Community Climate System Model.

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Sewall-CC-report-entry

Keywords:

climate change, modeling, water supply forecasting