Respective roles of direct GHG radiative forcing and induced Arctic sea ice loss on the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation

Oudar, Thomas ; Sanchez-Gomez, Emilia ; Chauvin, Fabrice ; Cattiaux, Julien ; Terray, Laurent ; Cassou, Christophe

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The large-scale and synoptic-scale Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation responses to projected late twenty-first century Arctic sea ice decline induced by increasing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) concentrations are investigated using the CNRM-CM5 coupled model. An original protocol, based on a flux correction technique, allows isolating the respective roles of GHG direct radiative effect and induced Arctic sea ice loss under RCP8.5 scenario. In winter, the surface atmospheric response clearly exhibits opposing effects between GHGs increase and Arctic sea ice loss, leading to no significant pattern in the total response (particularly in the North Atlantic region). An analysis based on Eady growth rate shows that Arctic sea ice loss drives the weakening in the low-level meridional temperature gradient, causing a general decrease of the baroclinicity in the mid and high latitudes, whereas the direct impact of GHGs increase is more located in the mid-to-high troposphere. Changes in the flow waviness, evaluated from sinuosity and blocking frequency metrics, are found to be small relative to inter-annual variability.
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