Ural blocking as an amplifier of the Arctic sea ice decline in winter

Tingting Gong, Dehai Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


In this paper, the lead-lag relationship between the Arctic sea ice variability over the Barents-Kara Sea (BKS) and Ural blocking (UB) in winter (DJF) ranging from 1979/80 to 2011/12 is examined. It is found that in a regressed DJF-mean field an increased UB frequency (days) corresponds to an enhanced sea ice decline over the BKS, while the high sea surface temperature over the BKS is accompanied by a significant Arctic sea ice reduction. Lagged daily regression and correlation reveal that the growth and maintenance of the UB that is related to the positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO+) through the negative east Atlantic/west Russia (EA/WR-) wave train is accompanied by an intensified negative BKS sea ice anomaly, and the BKS sea ice reduction lags the UB pattern by about four days. Because the intensified UB pattern occurs together with enhanced downward infrared radiation (IR) associated with the intensified moisture flux convergence and total column water over the BKS, the UB pattern contributes significantly to the BKS sea ice decrease on a time scale of weeks through intensified positive surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies resulting from enhanced downward IR. It is also found that the BKS sea ice decline can persistently maintain even when the UB has disappeared, thus indicating that the UB pattern is an important amplifier of the BKS sea ice reduction. Moreover, it is demonstrated that the EA/WR- wave train formed by the combined NAO+ and UB patterns is closely related to the amplified warming over the BKS through the strengthening (weakening) of mid-to-high-latitude westerly wind in the North Atlantic (Eurasia).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2639-2654
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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