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Seasonal differences in the response of Arctic cyclones to climate change in CESM1

Day, JonathanJ., Holland, MarikaM., Hodges, KevinI.
Climate dynamics 2018 v.50 no.9-10 pp. 3885-3903
basins, business enterprises, climate, climate change, climate models, environmental factors, humans, ice, latitude, seasonal variation, summer, surface temperature, temperature profiles, winter, Arctic region
The dramatic warming of the Arctic over the last three decades has reduced both the thickness and extent of sea ice, opening opportunities for business in diverse sectors and increasing human exposure to meteorological hazards in the Arctic. It has been suggested that these changes in environmental conditions have led to an increase in extreme cyclones in the region, therefore increasing this hazard. In this study, we investigate the response of Arctic synoptic scale cyclones to climate change in a large initial value ensemble of future climate projections with the CESM1-CAM5 climate model (CESM-LE). We find that the response of Arctic cyclones in these simulations varies with season, with significant reductions in cyclone dynamic intensity across the Arctic basin in winter, but with contrasting increases in summer intensity within the region known as the Arctic Ocean cyclone maximum. There is also a significant reduction in winter cyclogenesis events within the Greenland–Iceland–Norwegian sea region. We conclude that these differences in the response of cyclone intensity and cyclogenesis, with season, appear to be closely linked to changes in surface temperature gradients in the high latitudes, with Arctic poleward temperature gradients increasing in summer, but decreasing in winter.