National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2014

Abrupt climate changes and emerging ice-ocean processes in the Pacific Arctic region and the Bering Sea

Wang, J., H. Eicken, Y. Yu, X. Bai, J. Zhang, H. Hu, D.-R. Wang, M. Ikeda, K. Mizobata, and J.E. Overland

In The Pacific Arctic Region: Ecosystem Status and Trends in a Rapidly Changing Environment, J.M. Grebmeier and W. Maslowski (eds.), Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht, 65–99, doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-8863-2_4 (2014)

The purpose of this chapter is to reveal several emerging physical ice-ocean processes associated with the unprecedented sea ice retreat in the Pacific Arctic Region (PAR). These processes are closely interconnected under the scenario of diminishing sea ice, resulting in many detectable changes from physical environment to ecosystems. Some of these changes are unprecedented and have drawn the attention of both scientific and societal communities. More importantly, some mechanisms responsible for the diminishing sea ice cannot be explained by the leading Arctic Oscillation (AO), which has been used to interpret most of the changes in the Arctic for the last several decades. The new challenging questions are: (1) What is the major forcing? (2) Is the AO, the DA, or their combination, contributing to the sea ice minima in recent years? How do we use models to investigate the recent changes in the PAR. Is the heat transport through the Bering Strait associated with the DA? What processes accelerate sea ice melting in the PAR?

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