News & Events

Using models to study Arctic climate variability and change

Thursday, January 23, 2014, 4:00PM - 5:00PM


Alexandra Jahn



ARC room 620

The Arctic is showing the largest warming to date, with an associated significant loss of sea ice. While the recent ice loss may have been faster than projected, climate models agree that the ice loss will continue, likely leading to ice-free conditions in the Arctic during summer before the end of the 21st century. With their ability to simulate Earth’s climate based on basic laws of physics, fluid motion, and chemistry, climate models allow us to study the Earth in a virtual laboratory. As such, they can be used to test our understanding, study feedback mechanisms, attribute changes in climate to particular forcings, assess the role of internal variability, project climate change into the future, and investigate past climates. However, in order to use the knowledge gained from these virtual laboratory experiments, good model-data comparisons are paramount. In this talk, I will demonstrate how we can use climate models to investigate global impacts of Arctic climate change under different scenarios, specifically, how Arctic changes lead to a reduction in North Atlantic deep convection, with impacts on the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) and the oceanic northward heat flux. Furthermore, I will highlight some of the difficulties associated with model-data comparisons in the Arctic, and discuss how new modeling techniques can improve model assessments.