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Abstract

Arctic sea ice has declined precipitously in both extent and thickness over the past four decades; by contrast, Antarctic sea ice has shown little overall change, but this masks large regional variability. Climate models have not captured these changes. But these differences do not represent a paradox. The processes governing, and impacts of, natural variability and human-induced changes differ markedly at the poles largely because of the ways in which differences in geography control the properties of and interactions among the atmosphere, ice, and ocean. The impact of natural variability on the ice cover is large at both poles, so modeled ice trends are not entirely inconsistent with contributions from both natural variability and anthropogenic forcing. Despite this concurrence, the coupling of natural climate variability, climate feedbacks, and sea ice is not well understood, and significant biases remain in model representations of the ice cover and the processes that drive it.

Keyword(s): AntarcticArcticclimatesatellitesea ice
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2019-01-03
2024-06-17
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