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Arctic sea-ice variability revisited

  • Julienne Stroeve (a1), Allan Frei (a2) (a3), James McCreight (a1) and Debjani Ghatak (a3)

This paper explores spatial and temporal relationships between variations in Arctic sea-ice concentration (summer and winter) and near-surface atmospheric temperature and atmospheric pressure using multivariate statistical techniques. Trend, empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and singular value decomposition (SVD) analyses are used to identify spatial patterns associated with covariances and correlations between these fields. Results show that (1) in winter, the Arctic Oscillation still explains most of the variability in sea-ice concentration from 1979 to 2006; and (2) in summer, a decreasing sea-ice trend centered in the Pacific sector of the Arctic basin is clearly correlated to an Arctic-wide air temperature warming trend. These results demonstrate the applicability of multivariate methods, and in particular SVD analysis, which has not been used in earlier studies for assessment of changes in the Arctic sea-ice cover. Results are consistent with the interpretation that a warming signal has now emerged from the noise in the Arctic sea-ice record during summer. Our analysis indicates that such a signal may also be forthcoming during winter.

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Annals of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0260-3055
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