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Arctic sea-ice variability revisited

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This paper explores spatial and temporal relationships between variations in Arctic sea-ice concentration (summer and winter) and near-surface atmospheric temperature and atmospheric pressure using multivariate statistical techniques. Trend, empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and singular value decomposition (SVD) analyses are used to identify spatial patterns associated with covariances and correlations between these fields. Results show that (1) in winter, the Arctic Oscillation still explains most of the variability in sea-ice concentration from 1979 to 2006; and (2) in summer, a decreasing sea-ice trend centered in the Pacific sector of the Arctic basin is clearly correlated to an Arctic-wide air temperature warming trend. These results demonstrate the applicability of multivariate methods, and in particular SVD analysis, which has not been used in earlier studies for assessment of changes in the Arctic sea-ice cover. Results are consistent with the interpretation that a warming signal has now emerged from the noise in the Arctic sea-ice record during summer. Our analysis indicates that such a signal may also be forthcoming during winter.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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