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Keywords:

  • Arctic;
  • cyclogenesis;
  • sea ice

[1] Rapid sea-ice retreat over the Arctic Ocean has a leading role in Arctic amplification. The sea-ice extent dramatically recovers during every freezing season, so despite the recent summer sea-ice retreat, there must be extraordinary heat exchange between the lower atmosphere and upper ocean. However, the underlying mechanisms for this remain uncertain. Here we show that autumn frontal cyclogenesis is a crucial event in the Arctic air-sea coupled system. Our shipboard Doppler radar and intensive radiosonde observations at the marginal ice zone detected an explosive frontal cyclogenesis, with coupling between upper and lower tropospheric vortices. The thermal contrast between ocean and ice surfaces is likely favorable to cyclogenesis with an identical life-cycle to that at mid-latitudes. This suggests a northward shift of meridional heat transport. The 1.5 K temperature decrease in the upper ocean after the cold front has passed reveals that a large amount of heat is transported into the atmosphere. This is an invaluable example of the fact that sea ice retreat contributes to polar amplification of surface air temperature increase.