Rapid changes in the Arctic

Densely packed sea ice on a vivid blue ocean

The Arctic is warming over three times as fast as the rest of the planet.

The amplification of global warming in the Arctic has several interrelated causes: the reducing sea ice cover, changes in atmosphere and ocean circulations, and changes in cloud and water vapour content of the atmosphere.

These processes are nonlinear and highly dependent on each other, resulting in a complex system of interactions which are not well understood. Furthermore, observations in the region are sparse and seasonally-biassed and climate models are known to have large biases associated with some of these processes.

CANARI will advance understanding of Arctic change by characterising future trajectories of the whole Arctic climate system, including the sea ice-ocean state and circulation, the atmospheric boundary layer and clouds, and the Arctic stratosphere and its interactions with the troposphere below.

Changes in the Arctic will also influence the mid-latitudes, particularly in the North Atlantic region. Changes in oceanic water transport out of the Arctic will impact the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in the North Atlantic by modifying the properties of seawater in the important dense water formation regions. In the atmosphere, several mechanisms have been proposed by which future Arctic changes will influence conditions in the mid-latitudes, but with very different conclusions. We will assess the impact of changes in the Arctic throughout the troposphere and stratosphere to clarify the extent to which warming in the Arctic will influence mid-latitude weather systems.

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