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Sea ice-free Arctic during the last interglacial supports fast future loss

Guarion, M.-V., Sime, L. C., Schroeder, D., Malmierca-Vallet, I., Rosenblum, E., Ringer, M., Ridley, J., Feltham, D., Bitz, C., Steig, E. J., Wolff, E., Stroeve, J. and Sellar, A. (2020) Sea ice-free Arctic during the last interglacial supports fast future loss. Nature Climate Change. ISSN 1758-678X (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

The Last Interglacial (LIG), a warmer period 130-116 ka before present, is a potential analog for future climate change. Stronger LIG summertime insolation at high northern latitudes drove Arctic land summer temperatures 4-5 ◦C higher than the preindustrial era. Climate model simulations have previously failed to capture these elevated temperatures, possibly be- cause they were unable to correctly capture LIG sea-ice changes. Here, we show the latest version of the fully-coupled UK Hadley Center climate model (HadGEM3) simulates a more accurate Arctic LIG climate, including elevated temperatures. Improved model physics, in- cluding a sophisticated sea-ice melt-pond scheme, result in a complete simulated loss of Arctic sea ice in summer during the LIG, which has yet to be simulated in past generations of mod- els. This ice-free Arctic yields a compelling solution to the longstanding puzzle of what drove LIG Arctic warmth and supports a fast retreat of future Arctic summer sea ice.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:91701
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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