U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Quantifying the Increasing Role of Oceanic Heat in New Arctic Sea Ice Loss
Published: January 14, 2016
Posted: May 19, 2016

The loss of Arctic sea ice has emerged as a leading signal of global warming. Sea ice loss, together with acknowledged impacts on other components of the Earth system, has led to the term ‘New Arctic.’ Global coupled climate models predict that ice loss will continue through the 21st century, with implications for governance, economics, security, and global weather. A wide range in model projections reflects the complex, highly coupled interactions among the polar atmosphere, ocean, and cryosphere, including teleconnections to lower latitudes. A recent study summarizes present understanding of how heat reaches the ice base from the original sources—inflows of Atlantic and Pacific water, river discharges, and summer sensible heat and shortwave radiative fluxes at the ocean and ice surface—and speculates how such processes may change in the New Arctic. The complexity of the coupled Arctic system and the logistical and technological challenges of working in the Arctic Ocean require a coordinated interdisciplinary and international program that not only improves understanding of this critical component of global climate, but also provides opportunities for developing human resources with the skills required to tackle related problems in complex climate systems. This study proposes a research strategy that includes: 1) improved mapping of the upper and mid-depth Arctic Ocean, 2) enhanced quantification of important processes, 3) expanded long-term monitoring at key heat-flux locations, and 4) development of numerical capabilities that focus on parameterization of heat flux mechanisms and their interactions.

Reference: Carmack, E., I. Polyakov, L. Padman, I. Fer, E. Hunke, J. Hutchings, J. Jackson, D. Kelley, R. Kwok, C. Layton, H. Melling, D. Perovich, O. Persson, B. Ruddick, M.-L. Timmermans, J. Toole, T. Ross, S. Vavrus, and P. Winsor. 2015. “Towards Quantifying the Increasing Role of Oceanic Heat in Sea Ice Loss in the New Arctic,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2079-105. DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00177.1. (Reference link)

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)