Climate fluctuations of the Weddell Sea and its surroundings in a transient climate change scenario

Année de publication



Climate Dynamics 2006 27 83 99 1


Abstract: The response of the Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula to anthropogenic forcing simulated by a global climate model is analyzed. The model, despite its low resolution, is able to capture several aspects of the observed regional pattern of climate change. A strong warming and depletion of the sea ice cover in the western Weddell Sea contrasts with a slight cooling and a sea-ice extension in the eastern Weddell Sea. This simulated long-term climate change is modulated by interdecadal variability but also affected by some abrupt regional changes in the oceanic mixed layer depth. Between 1960 and 2030 a reorganization of the deep convection activity in the Weddell Sea sustains the opposition between the eastern and western Weddell Sea. The deep convection collapses in the western Weddell Sea in the 2030s. The sea ice retreat trend is then followed by an increase of the sea ice cover in the western Weddell Sea. In the eastern Weddell Sea another abrupt collapse of the deep convection activity occurs around 2080. This event is followed by a rapid cooling and sea ice extension during the next 20 years. Most of the surface changes are associated with large-scale atmospheric circulation changes that project on the dominant mode of natural variability but also with oceanic convection and circulation changes.

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