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Oceanic and Atmospheric Circulation
G. Wendler, M. Shulski. Arctic (2009) 62(3):295-300. The climate of Fairbanks was analyzed for a century ending in 2006. The temperature has increased by 1.4°C, almost twice the global increase, which is expected as a result of the polar amplification in temperature change. (PDF, 386.3 MB)
A seven-year study of oxygen isotopes in daily precipitation at a site close to the Arctic Circle, Tustervatn, Norway: Trajectory analysis and links with the North Atlantic Oscillation
W.H. Theakstone. Atmospheric Environment (2011) 45(29):5101-5109. Daily precipitation values were recorded through a 7-year period at Tustervatn, Norway, close to the Arctic Circle. Seasonal variations were superimposed on an overall rising trend. Cluster analysis of air mass trajectories revealed five principal moisture source areas and transport routes to Tustervatn.
J.C. Orr et al. Earth and Environmental Science (2009). Climate change will be amplified in the Arctic, leading to reduced sea-ice cover, warming and freshening of surface waters, and changes in vertical stratification. The Arctic Ocean is also undergoing acidification as is the rest of the ocean. (PDF, 326 KB)
An initial estimate of the cost of lost climate regulation services due to changes in the Arctic cryosphere
Oceans North report, February 2010. This paper provides initial estimates of only one of the ecosystem services provided by the northern cryosphere, global climate regulation. It serves as a scoping exercise pointing to additional work that needs to be carried out. (PDF, 1.9 KB)
BBC News, March 1, 2011. British explorers Ann Daniels and Phil Coates will be braving temperatures as low as -75C on a 60-day Arctic trek testing whether changes in sea temperatures affect ocean currents.
Anomalous conditions in the south-eastern Bering Sea 1997: Linkages among climate, weather, ocean, and biology
J.M. Napp, G.L. Hunt, Jr. Fisheries Oceanography (2001) 10(1):61-68. In 1997, the Bering Sea ecosystem, a productive, high-latitude marginal sea, demonstrated that it responds on very short time scales to atmospheric anomalies. That year, a combination of atmospheric mechanisms produced notable summer weather anomalies over the eastern Bering Sea.
Science Daily, September 23, 2011. Aquarius is making NASA's first space observations of ocean surface salinity variations—a key component of Earth's climate. Salinity changes are linked to the cycling of freshwater around the planet and influence ocean circulation.
N. Lubick. Geotimes (2006). The northern latitudes amplify shifts in temperature, ocean circulation, precipitation, and evaporation that occur elsewhere on the planet, making the region a kind of early warning system for global climate change.
C.H. Greene et al. Ecology (2008) 89(11):S24-S38. Since the 1970s, historically unprecedented changes have been observed in the Arctic as climate warming has increased precipitation, river discharge, and glacial as well as sea-ice melting. In addition, modal shifts in the atmosphere have altered Arctic Ocean circulation patterns and the export of freshwater into the North Atlantic. (PDF, 770.1 KB)
Report by WWF International Arctic Programme, Second Edition, November 2009. In addition to the regional consequences of arctic climate change are its global impacts. Acting as the Northern Hemisphere's refrigerator, a frozen Arctic plays a central role in regulating Earth's climate system. A number of critical arctic climate feedbacks affect the global climate system, and many of these are now being altered in a rapidly warming Arctic. (PDF, 11 MB)
ScienceDaily, June 30, 2010. A new study shows the Arctic climate system may be more sensitive to greenhouse warming than previously thought, and that current levels of Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide may be high enough to bring about significant, irreversible shifts in Arctic ecosystems.
Chapter 2 (pages 21-60) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. The sensitivities of snow and ice regimes to small temperature increases and of cold oceans to small changes in salinity are processes that could contribute to unusually large and rapid climate change in the Arctic. (PDF, 3.24 MB)
Arctic cyclogenesis at the marginal ice zone: A contributory mechanism for the temperature amplification?
J. Inoue, M.E. Hori. Geophysical Research Letters (2011) 38:doi:10.1029/2011GL047696. Rapid sea-ice retreat over the Arctic Ocean has a leading role in Arctic amplification. The sea-ice extent dramatically recovers during every freezing season, so despite the recent summer sea-ice retreat there must be extraordinary heat exchange between the lower atmosphere and upper ocean. However, the underlying mechanisms for this remain uncertain. Here the authors show that autumn frontal cyclogenesis is a crucial event in the Arctic air-sea coupled system.
NPR's "All Things Considered," August 24, 2006. For close to half a century, the flow from Arctic rivers and from rainfall has increased dramatically. There's also more freshwater coming from sea ice in the Arctic Ocean that's been rapidly melting, and there's yet more freshwater coming from melting glaciers. Scientists are worried that the Atlantic currents that influence land climate could suddenly change as a result.
This video clip from 1990, made available by Teachers' Domain, describes how the long-range transport of particles around the globe brings pollution to the Arctic and how Arctic haze may be contributing to climate change. [03:52 min]
N. Jones, Nature News, January 27, 2011. Water flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean is about 2°C warmer today than it has been for at least 2,000 years.
NASA Earth Observatory (2011). The AO is a pattern of differences in air pressure between the Arctic and mid-latitudes. When the AO is in "positive" phase, air pressure over the Arctic is low, pressure over the mid-latitudes is high, and prevailing winds confine extremely cold air to the Arctic. But when the AO is in "negative" phase, the pressure gradient weakens. The air pressure over the Arctic is not quite so low, and air pressure at mid-latitudes is not as high. In this negative phase, the AO enables Arctic air to slide south and warm air to slip north.
Q. Schiermeier, Nature News, April 6, 2006. One of Siberia's largest rivers is dumping about 10% more fresh water into the Arctic today than it was some 60 years ago, thanks to the complex effects of increased snowfall, melting permafrost, and changing weather.
Science Daily, October 10, 2011. The Baltic Sea emits more carbon dioxide than it can bind. Local variations have increased the exposure of the Bay of Bothnia. These are the results from a study of how carbon dioxide flows between the water of the Baltic Sea and the atmosphere, carried out by scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
NPR's "Talk of the Nation," January 21, 2011. Scientists who study the oceans say the effects of climate change are already being seen in the world's oceans. From acidification and warming temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice loss, Ira Flatow and guests look at how the oceans are changing with changes in climate.
M.C. Serreze, A.P. Barrett. Journal of Climate (2011) 24(1):159-182. Characteristics of the Arctic Ocean's Beaufort Sea high are examined using fields from the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis.
L. Hole, M. Engardt. Ambio (2008) 37(1):9-17. A high-resolution chemical transport model, driven by meteorology representing current and future climate, was used to investigate the effects of possible future changes in climate on nitrogen deposition in northwestern Europe.
T. Jóhannesson et al. Climate Research (1995) 5:181-195. A climate change scenario for the Nordic countries has been defined for application in hydrological models in the Nordic research project 'Climate Change and Energy Production.' The scenario is based on a subjective evaluation of several recent results from global coupled atmosphere and ocean general circulation models (GCMs) and on a statistical downscaling of the model results. (PDF, 1.65 MB)
W.R. Cotton. International Geophysics (2011) 99:753-767. Chapter 12 of a special volume titled Storm and Cloud Dynamics.
W.R. Boos. Nature (2011) 471(7340):584-586. Winters are colder in northeastern North America and Asia than in other regions at the same latitude. Previous explanations may be incomplete, having overlooked the radiation of atmospheric wave energy.
Chapter 6 (pages 183-242) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Earlier breakup and later freeze-up have combined to lengthen the ice-free season of rivers and lakes by up to three weeks since the early 1900s throughout much of the Arctic. It is likely that low-frequency variations in the atmosphere and ocean have played at least some role in forcing the cryospheric and hydrological trends of the past few decades. (PDF, 5.23 MB)
Science Daily, September 19, 2011. The planet's deep oceans at times may absorb enough heat to flatten the rate of global warming for periods of as long as a decade even in the midst of longer-term warming, according to a new analysis led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
A. Lehmann et al. Climate Research (2011) 46(2)185-196. A detailed study of climate variability and the associated impact on the Baltic Sea area for the period 1958 to 2009 revealed that the recent changes in the warming trend are associated with changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic. (PDF, 3.31 MB)
K.M. Hines et al. Journal of Climate (2011) 24(1):26-48. A version of the state-of-the-art Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) has been developed for use in polar climates. The model known as "Polar WRF" is tested for land areas with a western Arctic grid that has 25-km resolution. This work serves as preparation for the high-resolution Arctic System Reanalysis of the years 2000-2010.
Energy feedbacks of northern high-latitude ecosystems to the climate system due to reduced snow cover during 20th century warming
E.S. Euskirchen et al. Global Change Biology (2007) 13(11):2425-2438. The warming associated with changes in snow cover in northern high-latitude terrestrial regions represents an important energy feedback to the climate system. Here, the authors simulate snow cover–climate feedbacks (i.e., changes in snow cover on atmospheric heating) across the pan-arctic over two distinct warming periods during the 20th century, 1910-1940 and 1970-2000.
R.F. Spielhagen et al. Science (2011) 331(6016):450-453. The authors present a multidecadal-scale record of ocean temperature variations during the past 2000 years, derived from marine sediments off Western Svalbard (79°N). They find that early-21st-century temperatures of Atlantic water entering the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented over the past 2000 years and are presumably linked to the Arctic amplification of global warming.
Science Daily, September 1, 2011. Two of the most destructive natural disasters of 2010 were closely linked by a single meteorological event, even though they occurred 1,500 miles (2,414 km) apart and were of completely different natures, a new NASA study suggests.
Science Daily, April 6, 2010. An international team of researchers is investigating ozone depletion in the polar stratosphere using data gathered during flights over the Arctic region at elevations of up to 20 kilometers.
Chapter 4 (pages 99-150) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Atmosphere-ocean general circulation models are widely acknowledged to be the primary tool for projecting future climate. As understanding of the earth's climate system increases and computers become more sophisticated, the scope of processes and feedbacks simulated by AOGCMs is steadily increasing. In addition to representing the general circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean, AOGCMs include interactive components representing the land surface and cryosphere. (PDF, 4.89 MB)
Y. Rosen, Alaska Dispatch, December 6, 2009. Ocean acidification is often called the twin of climate change. Just as increased carbon in the atmosphere triggers effects that change the climate, increased carbon in the atmosphere, when absorbed by the oceans, triggers acidification in the water. The very characteristics that help make Alaskan waters so rich—the cold temperatures that hold more carbon and shallow waters saturated with nutrients—also make them more susceptible to acidification, experts say.
Ice age carbon mystery: Rising carbon dioxide levels not tied to Pacific Ocean, as had been suspected
Science Daily, October 4, 2011. A new study by a University of Michigan paleoclimatologist and two colleagues suggests that the deep ocean was not an important source of carbon during glacial times. The finding will force researchers to reassess their ideas about the fundamental mechanisms that regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide over long time scales.
P.C. Reid et al. Chapter 1, Advances in Marine Biology (2009) 56:1-150. The oceans play a key role in climate regulation especially in part buffering (neutralizing) the effects of increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures. This chapter examines how the regulatory processes performed by the oceans alter as a response to climate change and assesses the extent to which positive feedbacks from the ocean may exacerbate climate change.
A.D. McGuire et al. Annual Review of Environment and Resources (2006) 31:61-91. In light of uncertainties and the vulnerabilities of the climate system to responses in the Arctic, it is important that we improve our understanding of how integrated regional changes in the Arctic will likely influence the evolution of the global climate system.
NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday," January 7, 2007. John Ydstie speaks to Robert Henson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research about the unseasonably warm weather and what might be behind it.
While Denali's air quality is consistently among the cleanest recorded in the nationwide monitoring networks, small amounts of international airborne contaminants are measured in the park each year. With global pollution projected to increase over time, Denali's clean air is dependent on international as well as national efforts to limit emission increases. (PDF, 304 KB)
Chapter 9 (pages 453-538) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Arctic marine systems are unique with their high proportion of continental shelves and shallow water, dramatic seasonality and overall low level of sunlight, extremely low water temperatures, presence of extensive areas of multi-year and seasonal sea-ice cover, and strong influence from freshwater coming from rivers and ice melt. Such factors represent harsh conditions for many types of marine life. (PDF, 4 MB)
Video of a 2011 lecture by Paola Cessi, Professor of Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as part of the series "Perspectives on Ocean Science." [56:44 min]
E. Kolbert. Yale Environment 360 (2009). Marine biologist Jane Lubchenco now heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, conducted by New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, Lubchenco speaks about the science of climate change, the complexities of communicating it to policy makers, and what she refers to as global warming's "equally evil twin," ocean acidification. This online article includes an audio link to the full interview [44:00 minutes] This interview requires the use of the QuickTime, which can be downloaded from QuickTime's Web site at no charge.
E. Di Lorenzo et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2008) doi:10.1029/2007GL032838. The authors define a new pattern of climate change, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO), and show that its variability is significantly correlated with previously unexplained fluctuations of salinity, nutrients, and chlorophyll. (PDF, 2.52 MB)
D.W. Pierce et al. Annual Review of Environment and Resources (2011) DOI:10.1146/annurev-environ-022610-112928. Committed climate change arises due to the large thermal inertia of the oceans and their consequent time lag in adjusting to altered GHG concentrations. This work describes the basic heat balance of the oceans, the physical reasons for the long time lag in ocean temperature and sea-level rise, and the observational evidence for human-induced ocean warming over the past 50 years.
Science Daily, August 6, 2011. Though estimates regarding the effect of carbon in the ocean already exist, hard data can help climatologists create more accurate predictions of how carbon will impact global warming.
L.M. Beal et al. Nature (2011) 472(7344):429-436. The Atlantic Ocean receives warm, saline water from the Indo-Pacific Ocean through Agulhas leakage around the southern tip of Africa. Recent findings suggest that Agulhas leakage is a crucial component of the climate system and that ongoing increases in leakage under anthropogenic warming could strengthen the Atlantic overturning circulation at a time when warming and accelerated meltwater input in the North Atlantic is predicted to weaken it.
J. Morison et al. Arctic (2000) 53(4):359-371. Numerous recent observations indicate that the Arctic is undergoing a significant change. In the last decade, the hydrography of the Arctic Ocean has shifted, and the atmospheric circulation has undergone a change from the lower stratosphere to the surface. (PDF, 3.72 MB)
X. Zhang et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2008) doi:10.1029/2008GL035607. Arctic climate system change has accelerated tremendously since the beginning of this century, and a strikingly extreme sea-ice loss occurred in summer 2007. However, the greenhouse-gas-emissions forcing has only increased gradually, and the driving role in Arctic climate change of the positively polarized Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) trend has substantially weakened.
A. Biastoch et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2011) 38:doi:10.1029/2011GL047222. Vast amounts of methane hydrates are potentially stored in sediments along the continental margins, owing their stability to low temperature–high pressure conditions. Global warming could destabilize these hydrates and cause a release of methane (CH4) into the water column and possibly the atmosphere.
J-S Kug et al. Geophysical Research Letters (2010) doi:10.1029/2010GL043673. The authors find that a poleward shift of the westerly jet stream and associated synoptic eddy feedback play a critical role in enhancing polar warming and moistening.
PRI's "Here & Now," February 3, 2011. Many parts of Europe and the U.S. have seen unusual snowstorms and frigid temperatures for two years in a row. But places like northern Canada and Greenland have seen temperatures that in some months are running 15 to 20 degrees above average. The reason, some researchers say, is a weakening "vortex," a kind of atmospheric fence, that normally keeps cold air up north and warmer air south. PRI speaks with Justin Gillis, who covers climate issues for the New York Times.
F.J. Mueter, M.A. Litzow. Ecological Applications (2008) 18(2):309-320. Seasonal ice cover creates a pool of cold bottom water on the eastern Bering Sea continental shelf each winter. The southern edge of this cold pool, which defines the ecotone between Arctic and subarctic communities, has retreated approximately 230 kilometers northward since the early 1980s.
Seasonal variability of the inorganic carbon system in the Amundsen Gulf region of the southeastern Beaufort Sea
E.H. Shadwick et al. Limnology and Oceanography (2011) 56(1):303-322. During a year-round occupation of Amundsen Gulf in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, total alkalinity, partial pressure of CO2, and related parameters were measured over a full annual cycle.
T. Juul-Pedersen et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2010) 410:55-70. This paper presents an extensive spatial and temporal study of the sinking export of particulate organic material below the euphotic zone in the eastern Beaufort Sea. Free-drifting short-term particle interceptor traps were deployed, generally at 50 m, during fall 2002 and 2003, and summer 2004.
W.K. Li et al. Science (2009) 326(5952):539. As climate changes and the upper Arctic Ocean receives more heat and fresh water, it becomes more difficult for mixing processes to deliver nutrients from depth to the surface for phytoplankton growth.
M. Serreze, J.A. Francis. Climatic Change (2006) 76(3-4):241-264. Rises in surface air temperature (SAT) in response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are expected to be amplified in northern high latitudes, with warming most pronounced over the Arctic Ocean owing to the loss of sea ice. Observations document recent warming, but an enhanced Arctic Ocean signal is not readily evident.
Brochure published by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
M.C. Serreze, R.G. Barry, Cambridge University Press, 2005, 402 pages. The Arctic can be viewed as an integrated system, characterized by intimate couplings between its atmosphere, ocean and land, linked in turn to the larger global system. This comprehensive, up-to-date assessment begins with an outline of early Arctic exploration and the growth of modern research, followed by an overview of the Arctic's basic physical characteristics and climatic features.
W. Steffen. Ambio (2006) 35(4):153-159. Human activities over the past few centuries have profoundly changed the functioning of the earth system as a whole. These changes are particularly evident in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and can lead to two important feedback processes: the ice-albedo feedback and the terrestrial carbon cycle-climate feedback. These processes play an exceptionally important role in earth system functioning, particularly because they may switch this century from damping the effects of anthropogenic climate change to accelerating them.
H. Hop et al. Polar Research (2002) 21(1):167-208. Kongsfjorden is particularly suitable as a site for exploring the impacts of possible climate changes, with Atlantic water influx and melting of tidal glaciers both being linked to climate variability. The pelagic ecosystem is likely to be most sensitive to the Atlantic versus Arctic influence, whereas the benthic ecosystem is more affected by long-term changes in hydrography as well as changes in glacial runoff and sedimentation.
L.C. Brown, C.R. Duguay. Progress in Physical Geography (2010) 34(5):671-704. Lake ice phenology trends have typically been associated with variations in air temperatures, while ice thickness trends tend to be associated more to changes in snow cover. The role of ice cover in the regional climate is less documented, and with longer ice-free seasons possible as a result of changing climate conditions, especially at higher latitudes, the effects of lakes on their surrounding climate can be expected to become more prominent.
S. Vavrus. Climate Dynamics (2006) 29(1):73-88. Snow cover is known to exert a strong influence on climate, but quantifying its impact is difficult. This study investigates the global impact of terrestrial snow cover through a pair of general circulation model (GCM) simulations.
P. Eden, BBC News, December 20, 2010. The last three winters have appeared to be cold and snowy only in comparison with the relatively mild and snow-free winters of the last two decades. Were we able to pick them up and transplant them into, say, the 1940s or 1950s or 1960s they would not have looked out of place at all.
J. Smith et al. Science (2002) 297(5586). This special issue of Science examines how the polar regions have fared in recent decades and how they may be transformed in a future, warmer world. At the center of global-change research is how the dynamic behavior of the atmosphere and the oceans contributes to the weather patterns that have affected much of the world since the late 20th century.
Vertical flux of particulate matter in an Arctic fjord: The case of lack of the sea-ice cover in Adventfjorden 2006-2007
M. Zajaczkowski et al. Polar Biology (2009) 33(2):223-239. Seasonal dynamics of suspended minerals, organic matter, particulate, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), chlorophyll, and their vertical fluxes were studied in a small Arctic fjord (Adventfjorden, Spitsbergen) from November 2006 to October 2007.
R.G. Graversen et al. Nature (2007) 451:53-56. Near-surface warming in the Arctic has been almost twice as large as the global average over recent decades, a phenomenon that is known as the 'Arctic amplification'. Here, the authors examine the vertical structure of temperature change in the Arctic during the late twentieth century using reanalysis data. They find evidence for temperature amplification well above the surface.
NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday," July 23, 2011. As the country continues to bake in record-breaking heat, and in this year of weather extremes, people want to know: Is this all part of an ominous climate change? Host Scott Simon speaks with NOAA meteorologist Martin Hoerling about the situation. [4:52 min]
Y. Kaspi, T. Schneider. Nature (2011) 471(7340):621-624. In winter, northeastern North America and northeastern Asia are both colder than other regions at similar latitudes. Here the authors show that this anomalous winter cold can result in part from westward radiation of large-scale atmospheric waves—nearly stationary Rossby waves—generated by heating of the atmosphere over warm ocean waters.