Geophysical Research Letters

Disappearing Arctic sea ice reduces available water in the American west



[1] Recent decreases in Arctic sea ice cover and the probability of continued decreases have raised the question of how reduced Arctic sea ice cover will influence extrapolar climate. Using a fully coupled earth system model, we generate one possible future Arctic sea ice distribution. We use this “future” sea ice distribution and the corresponding sea surface temperatures (SSTs) to run a fixed SST and ice concentration experiment with the goal of determining direct climate responses to the reduction in Arctic sea ice that is projected to occur in the next 50 years. Our results indicate that future reductions in Arctic sea ice cover could significantly reduce available water in the American west and highlight the fact that the most severe impacts of future climate change will likely be at a regional scale.