Expansion in Solid El Niño Occasions Connected to Loss of Arctic Ocean Ice

Sea Ice forms in both the Arctic, and Antarctic during winter. It retreats in summer but doesn’t completely disappear. The influence of floating seawater on the weather and ocean circulation has an astonishing impact in the polar regions as well as beyond.

Phys.org reported that the rapid shrinkage of Arctic sea ice is one of the most obvious signs of climate changes over the past 40 years. Since the 1970s, the summer sea ice volume has declined by 13 percent each decade. Scientists predict that the Arctic will have its first year without sea ice by 2040.

A new paper from the University at Albany (UAlbany) suggests that rapid melting sea ice could not only impact small islands but also have a long-lasting effect on planet’s weather patterns like El Nino. El Nino, a complex weather pattern, occurs when there is a significant warming of the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This is often accompanied by weaker than average east winds.

According to Phys.org, “El Nino” is an important climate phenomenon that has been recognized as a driver of climate variation responsible for wide and varied societal impacts.” Jiping Liu, a professor in UAlbany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences and study lead author, said, “El Nino” as Phys.org reported. Our study shows that large Arctic sea-ice losses directly influence global climate extremes. This includes an increase in strong El Nino events.

The study entitled “Arctic Sea-Ice Loss is Proposed to Lead to More Frequent Strong El Nino Events,” was published in Nature Communications.

El Nino events occur every few years. They can bring extreme weather such as severe storms and flooding or droughts. This is reported by Phys.org.

Yale Environment 360 reported that “a seasonally ice-free Arctic causes marked changes in the Tropical Pacific with an El Ninolike warming pattern.” Strong El Nino events are more common, with presumably continued devastating effects around the globe.

Liu and other members of the research group ran time-slice experiments to determine how El Nino events were affected by Arctic sea ice loss.

Researchers established the amount of sea-ice cover for the periods 1980-1999 through 2020-2039, 2080-2099 and 2080-2099. Then, they generated simulations using the Community Climate System Model at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This allows scientists to simulate the past, present, and future climates.

The researchers compared the simulations and found no significant change in the frequency or intensity of strong El Nino events due to moderate sea ice loss in the Arctic. This finding was consistent with satellite observations. However, strong El Nino events increased by more than a third as Arctic summers became ice-free.

According to Phys.org, Liu stated that “after decades of research, there’s general agreement, albeit not always universal, that the frequency and strength of El Nino episodes, particularly extremely strong El Nino, will increase under greenhouse heating.”

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