Recent trend reversals in arctic sea ice extents: possible connections to the north Atlantic oscillation

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Decreases in Arctic sea ice extents since late 1978, found through analysis of satellite data, have been widely reported and have added to concerns regarding global warming. This paper reports the results of regression analysis performed on the yearly averaged ice extents for the two time periods 1979-1990 and 1990-1999, and reveals two important findings: (1) for the Arctic as a whole, the decade of the 1990s witnessed a deceleration of the trend toward lesser ice extents; and (2) the sign of the trend reversed from the 1979-1990 period to the 1990-1999 period in seven of the nine regions into which the Arctic ice cover is divided for analysis. The paper explores the possible connection between the spatial patterns of the sea ice trends and their reversals and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which reached a peak in its annual index in 1990.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Oceans and Ice Branch/Code 971, NASA Goddard Space Flight, Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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