The linear trends of satellite retrieved (a-d) cloud fractions from March to June and (e) September sea ice concentration (SIC) over the Arctic (70o-90oN) regions in early twenty-first century (2000-2015). Cloud observations are derived from CERES-MODIS SYN1 Ed3.0 product. The black dots mark the regions where p < 0.05 (statistical significance at 95% confidence level). Image: Xiquan Dong
Important findings by HAS Professor Xiquan Dong's research group, which includes HAS doctoral student and NASA Graduate Fellow Yiyi Huang, HAS Research Professor Baike Xi, and several other co-authors, were featured this week in the National Snow & Ice Data Center online journal, Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis: Thicker clouds accelerate sea decline. (Their research was first published on 28 May 2019 by the AGU journal, Geophysical Research Letters: Thicker Clouds and Acclerated Arctic Sea Ice Decline: The Atmosphere-Sea Ice Interactions in Spring.)
Arctic sea ice has declined by nearly 50% in the past few decades and has accelerated in the early twenty-first century, leading to a larger exposed area of open water that persists longer than before. Dong's research efforts seek to identify the roles of atmosphere in affecting sea ice decline. Clouds have large influences on Arctic sea ice long-term trends and variability, and atmosphere and sea ice are believed to actively interact with each other in spring. But attributing cause and effect is difficult.
Does the atmosphere primarily drive the sea ice changes or does the sea ice dominate changes in the atmosphere in spring? Read these articles to learn more!