New estimates of the large-scale Arctic atmospheric energy budget

Authors

  • David F. Porter,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Also at Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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  • John J. Cassano,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Also at Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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  • Mark C. Serreze,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Also at National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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  • David N. Kindig

    1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Also at National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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Abstract

[1] New estimates of the current energy budget of the north polar cap (the region north of 70°N) are synthesized by combining data from new atmospheric reanalyses and satellite retrievals. For the period 2000–2005, monthly means from the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) satellite data set are considered to provide the most reliable top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation budget. The remaining components of the energy budget, comprising of the energy storage, horizontal convergence of energy, and the net surface flux between the atmospheric and subsurface columns, are compiled using data from the Japanese 25 Year Reanalysis Project (JRA) and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) /National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Reanalysis (NRA). The annual cycles of energy budget components for the polar cap are fairly consistent between the JRA and NRA, but with some systematic differences. JRA depicts an annual mean surface flux of 14 W m−2 (upward), compared to only 5 W m−2 in NRA. Most of this disparity appears to be due to differences in sea ice and albedo. Horizontal atmospheric energy flux divergence calculated using mass-corrected flux values contains artifacts leading to unphysical results. We argue that backing out the energy flux convergence as a residual from the net surface heat flux and time change in energy storage from each reanalysis, and the TOA radiation budget from CERES, provides for more physically realistic results in the Arctic. Monthly mean anomalies of budget terms, used to examine conditions leading to the extreme seasonal sea ice extent minimum of September 2005, point to the importance of albedo feedback.

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