Non-stationary teleconnection between the Pacific Ocean and Arctic sea ice

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David Bonan, Eduardo Blanchard-Wrigglesworth


Over the last 40 years observations show a teleconnection between summertime Pacific Ocean sea-surface temperatures and September Arctic sea-ice extent. However, the short satellite observation record has made it difficult to further examine this relationship. Here, we use 30 fully-coupled general circulation models (GCMs) participating in Phase 5 of the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project to assess the ability of GCMs to simulate this teleconnection and analyze its stationarity over longer timescales. GCMs can temporarily simulate the teleconnection in continuous 40-year segments, but not over longer, centennial timescales. Each GCM exhibits considerable teleconnection variability on multidecadal timescales. Further analysis shows the teleconnection depends on an equally non-stationary atmospheric bridge from the subequatorial Pacific Ocean to the upper Arctic troposphere. These findings indicate the modulation of Arctic sea ice loss by subequatorial Pacific Ocean variability is not fixed in time, undermining the assumption of teleconnection stationarity as defined by the satellite record.



Atmospheric Sciences, Climate, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Other Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics



Published: 2019-10-08 04:50

Last Updated: 2019-12-01 22:06

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GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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