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Constraining uncertainties in CMIP5 projections of September Arctic sea ice extent with observations

Senftleben, Daniel and Lauer, Axel and Karpechko, Alexey (2020) Constraining uncertainties in CMIP5 projections of September Arctic sea ice extent with observations. Journal of Climate, 33 (2), pp. 1487-1503. American Meteorological Society. doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0075.1. ISSN 0894-8755.

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Official URL: https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0075.1


In agreement with observations, Earth system models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 simulate a decline in September Arctic sea ice extent (SIE) over the past decades. However, the spread in their 21st-century SIE projections is large and the timing of the first ice-free Arctic summer ranges between 2020 to beyond 2100. The uncertainties arise from three sources (internal variability, model uncertainty and scenario uncertainty), which are quantified in this study for projections of SIE. The goal is to narrow uncertainties by applying a Multiple Diagnostic Ensemble Regression (MDER). MDER links future projections of sea ice extent to processes relevant to its simulation under present-day conditions using data covering the past 40 years. With this method, we can reduce model uncertainty in projections of SIE for the period 2020-2044 by 30 to 50% (0.8 to 1.3 million km²). Compared to the unweighted multi-model mean, the MDER-weighted mean projects an about 20% smaller SIE and an earlier near-disappearance of Arctic sea ice by more than a decade for a high greenhouse gas scenario. We also show that two different methods estimating internal variability in SIE differ by 1 million km². Regardless, the total uncertainties in the SIE projections remain large (up to 3.5 million km², with irreducible internal variability contributing 30%) so that a precise time estimate of an ice-free Arctic proves impossible. We conclude that unweighted CMIP5 multi-model mean projections of Arctic SIE are too optimistic and mitigation strategies to reduce Arctic warming need to be intensified.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/130617/
Document Type:Article
Title:Constraining uncertainties in CMIP5 projections of September Arctic sea ice extent with observations
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Senftleben, DanielDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5798-1119UNSPECIFIED
Lauer, AxelDLR, IPAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9270-1044UNSPECIFIED
Karpechko, AlexeyFinnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FinnlandUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:February 2020
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Climate
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 1487-1503
Publisher:American Meteorological Society
Keywords:Arctic sea ice, CMIP5, MDER, weighting
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Atmospheric and climate research
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Earth System Model Evaluation and Analysis
Deposited By: Lauer, Axel
Deposited On:25 Nov 2019 13:17
Last Modified:24 Oct 2023 14:22

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