Loss of Barents-Kara Sea Ice in Arctic May Cause Higher Eurasian Warming in Winter

Geophysical Research Letters, June 16

Winter sea ice loss in the Barents-Kara seas, north of Norway and western Siberia, causes local warming in the Arctic and also produces accompanying changes in atmospheric circulation. When ice loss is moderate, this leads to lower temperatures over Eurasia. However, once sea ice loss is sufficiently large and surpasses a certain threshold, warming dominates, and especially results in abnormally warm Eurasian winters. This has increasingly been the pattern in recent years. Authors observe that below the threshold, not all years with moderately reduced sea ice are accompanied by colder Eurasian winters. This suggests that many factors – such as the specific pattern of ice loss in different months and seasons – also come into play in the relationship between Arctic sea ice and mid-latitude weather. Declining sea ice has profound impacts in the Arctic and globally.