Impact of winter ural blocking on Arctic sea ice: Short-time variability

Xiaodan Chen, Dehai Luo, Steven B. Feldstein, Sukyoung Lee

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Using daily reanalysis data from 1979 to 2015, this paper examines the impact of winter Ural blocking (UB) on winter Arctic sea ice concentration (SIC) change over the Barents and Kara Seas (BKS). A case study of the sea ice variability in the BKS in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 winters is first presented to establish a link between the BKS sea ice variability and UB events. Then the UB events are classified into quasi-stationary (QUB), westward-shifting (WUB), and eastward-shifting (EUB) UB types. It is found that the frequency of the QUB events increases significantly during 1999-2015, whereas the WUB events show a decreasing frequency trend during 1979-2015. Moreover, it is shown that the variation of the BKS-SIC is related to downward infrared radiation (IR) and surface sensible and latent heat flux changes due to different zonal movements of the UB. Calculations show that the downward IR is the main driver of the BKS-SIC decline for QUB events, while the downward IR and surface sensible heat flux make comparable contributions to the BKS-SIC variation for WUB and EUB events. The SIC decline peak lags the QUB and EUB peaks by about 3 days, though QUB and EUB require lesser prior SIC. The QUB gives rise to the largest SIC decline likely because of its longer persistence, whereas the BKS-SIC decline is relatively weak for the EUB. The WUB is found to cause a SIC decline during its growth phase and an increase during its decay phase. Thus, the zonal movement of the UB has an important impact on the SIC variability in BKS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2267-2282
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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