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Journal Article

Increasing fluctuations in the Arctic summer sea ice cover are expected with future global warming


Poltronieri,  Anna
External Organizations;


Bochow,  Nils
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;


Boers,  Niklas
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Rypdal,  Martin
External Organizations;

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Poltronieri, A., Bochow, N., Boers, N., Rypdal, M. (2024): Increasing fluctuations in the Arctic summer sea ice cover are expected with future global warming. - Environmental Research: Climate, 3, 3, 035007.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_29981
The loss of Arctic sea ice (ASI) represents a major transformation in the Arctic region, impacting regional and global climate, ecosystems, and socio-economic structures. Observational and reanalysis data have consistently shown a notable shift in polar environmental conditions over recent decades, marked by a substantial reduction in the ASI area and a rise in the variability in its coverage and distribution. Utilizing data from the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase, our study reveals a consistent pattern highlighting a fundamental shift in ASI dynamics preceding total loss. We observe increasing fluctuations in the September ASI area as the threshold for an ice-free Arctic is approached across various scenarios and models. This pattern is particularly concentrated in the Central Arctic (CA) sub-region. Spatial analyses reveal increasing variance along the CA's northern coastlines, accompanied by a substantial increase in open water coverage, underscoring the shift from stable to highly variable ice conditions in this region. Additionally, our findings suggest a potential link between increased ASI fluctuations and variability in surface wind speeds. These specific results underscore the urgency of multidisciplinary approaches in addressing the challenges posed by ASI variability, with implications for marine ecosystems, Indigenous communities, and navigational safety.