Recent Arctic Sea Ice Variability: Connections to the Arctic Oscillation and the ENSO

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Abstract

[1] Trends in the satellite-derived Arctic sea ice concentrations (1978–2002) show pronounced decreases in the Barents/Kara Seas, between the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, the central Sea of Okhotsk and a portion of the Hudson/Baffin Bay by ∼2–8% per decade, exceeding the 95% confidence level. Qualitatively speaking, positive phases of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) produce similar ice changes in the western Arctic, but opposite ice changes in the eastern Arctic. The manner in which the ice changes are related to the AO and ENSO are demonstrated. Over the last 24 years, the magnitude of the ice changes associated with the positive AO trend and the negative ENSO trend is much smaller than the regional ice trends. Thus, more local or less understood large scale processes should be investigated for explanations.

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