The Combined Role of ENSO-driven Sea Surface Temperature Variation and Arctic Sea Ice Extent in Defining Climate Conditions in the Southwestern United States
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We use 16th-19th century Arctic SIC records from the ACSYS Historical Ice Chart Archive as a basis for expanding Arctic SIC from 1870 HadISST data to theoretical LIA extents. Then, in a suite of sensitivity studies, we investigate the relative influences of and interactions between El NiÃ±o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) related sea surface temperature (SST) variation and varying Arctic SIC in controlling storm tracks, precipitation patterns, and overall climate conditions in the American southwest.
We find that tropical Pacific SSTs greatly influence climate system response to variability in Arctic SIC, with ENSO-Neutral SSTs permitting the greatest response.
Additionally, the degree of expansion and symmetry of Arctic SIC also influence precipitation regime response. These findings suggest that the climate response to future Arctic SIC retreat may not only be highly dependent on the spatial patterns and extent of SIC reductions, but also upon ENSO variability, such that El Nino events may reduce the potential climate impact of ice reductions as compared to Neutral or La Nina events.
- Masters Theses