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Eurasian cooling in response to Arctic sea-ice loss is not proved by maximum covariance analysis

Zappa, G., Ceppi, P. and Shepherd, T. G. (2021) Eurasian cooling in response to Arctic sea-ice loss is not proved by maximum covariance analysis. Nature Climate Change, 11. pp. 106-108. ISSN 1758-678X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00982-8


The extent to which the ongoing decline in Arctic sea ice affects mid-latitude climate has received great attention and polarised opinions. The basic issue is whether the inter-annual variability in Arctic sea ice is the cause of, or the response to, variability in mid-latitude atmospheric circulation. Mori et al. (M19) claims to have reconciled previous conflicting studies by showing that a consistent mid-latitude climate response to inter-annual sea-ice anomalies can be identified between the ERA-Interim reanalysis, taken as observations, and an ensemble of atmosphere-only (AMIP) climate model simulations. Here we demonstrate that such a conclusion cannot be drawn, due to issues with the interpretation of the maximum covariance analysis performed. After applying the M19 approach to the output from a simple statistical model, we conclude that a predominant atmospheric forcing of the sea-ice variability, rather than the converse, is a more plausible explanation of the results presented in M19.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:95136
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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