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The changing energy balance of the polar regions in a warmer climate

Bengtsson, L., Hodges, K., Koumoutsaris, S., Zahn, M. and Berrisford, P. (2013) The changing energy balance of the polar regions in a warmer climate. Journal of Climate, 26 (10). pp. 3112-3129. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00233.1


Energy fluxes for polar regions are examined for two 30-year periods, representing the end of the 20th and 21st centuries, using data from high resolution simulations with the ECHAM5 climate model. The net radiation to space for the present climate agrees well with data from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) over the northern polar region but shows an underestimation in planetary albedo for the southern polar region. This suggests there are systematic errors in the atmospheric circulation or in the net surface energy fluxes in the southern polar region. The simulation of the future climate is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) A1B scenario. The total energy transport is broadly the same for the two 30 year periods, but there is an increase in the moist energy transport of the order of 6 W m−2 and a corresponding reduction in the dry static energy. For the southern polar region the proportion of moist energy transport is larger and the dry static energy correspondingly smaller for both periods. The results suggest a possible mechanism for the warming of the Arctic that is discussed. Changes between the 20th and 21st centuries in the northern polar region show the net ocean surface radiation flux in summer increases ~18W m−2 (24%). For the southern polar region the response is different as there is a decrease in surface solar radiation. We suggest that this is caused by changes in cloudiness associated with the poleward migration of the storm tracks.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:31642
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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