Impacts of falling ice radiative effects on projections of Southern Ocean sea ice change under global warming

  • Exploring the impact of falling ice radiative effects (FIREs) on sea ice projection
  • FIREs affect sea ice change via more radiative warming and higher skin temperature
  • FIREs can lead to faster long-term warming-driven sea ice melting and thinning

The falling ice (snow) radiative effects (FIREs) have previously been shown to contribute substantially to reduced discrepancies in simulations of present-day climatology of radiation, skin temperatures and sea ice concentration and thickness over the Southern Ocean. This study extends to examine the impacts of FIREs on simulation of sea ice changes under a scenario of gradual increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration. We perform a pair of sensitivity experiments including (CESM1-SoN) and excluding (CESM1-NoS) FIREs using Community Earth System Model version 1. The differences in the annual and seasonal means between the initial and warmer periods are examined. Relative to CESM1-SoN, CESM1-NoS simulates more surface reflected shortwave and less downward longwave radiative warming, as well as colder surface temperature, resulting in larger annual-mean sea ice extent and thickness and slower seasonal and long-term sea ice melting and thinning. Over the Southern Ocean of CESM1-SoN, reduced downwelling longwave radiation in austral winter (June-July-August: JJA) leads to sea-ice growth with colder skin temperature while reduced net radiation resulting from increased shortwave reflection in austral summer reduces the melting of sea ice with little change in skin temperature. CESM1-NoS shows seasonal and long-term trends similar to those in CMIP5 models that exclude FIREs, hinting slower future warming-driven changes and larger amplitude of the annual cycle in sea ice concentration and thickness. The ice-free Southern Ocean in peak melting season is simulated at approximately year 130 for CESM1-NoS but year 100 for CESM1-SoN, about 30 years later than that of the Arctic.

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