Pengfei Zhang

(Penn State University)

"Increased Atmospheric River Frequency Slowed the Seasonal Recovery of Arctic Sea Ice in Recent Decades"

What Meteo Colloquium
When Sep 28, 2022
from 03:30 pm to 04:30 pm
Where 112 Walker Building
Contact Name David Stensrud
Contact email
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Pengfei Zhang


In recent decades, Arctic sea ice coverage experienced a drastic decline in winter, when sea ice is expected to recover following the melting season. Using observations and climate model simulations, we found a robust frequency increase in atmospheric rivers (ARs, intense corridors of moisture transport) over Barents-Kara Seas and the neighboring central Arctic (ABK) in early winter. The extensive moisture carried by more frequent ARs has intensified surface downward longwave radiation and liquid rainfall, caused stronger melting of thin, fragile ice cover, and slowed the seasonal recovery of sea ice, contributing to the sea ice cover decline in ABK. A series of model ensemble experiments suggests that, in addition to a uniform AR increase in response to anthropogenic forcing, the contribution of tropical Pacific variability is indispensable in the observed Arctic AR changes. These findings have significant implications for understanding the rapidly changing Arctic hydroclimate and the cryosphere.