07 Jul 2023
 | 07 Jul 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Sea ice variations and trends during the Common Era in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic Ocean

Ana Lúcia Lindroth Dauner, Frederik Schenk, Katherine Elizabeth Power, and Maija Heikkilä

Abstract. Sea ice is crucial in regulating the heat balance between the ocean and atmosphere and quintessential for supporting the prevailing Arctic food web. Due to limited and often local data availability back in time, the sensitivity of sea- ice proxies to long-term climate changes is not well constrained, which renders any comparison with palaeoclimate model simulations difficult. Here we compiled a set of marine sea-ice proxy records with a relatively high temporal resolution of at least 100 years covering the Common Era (past 2 k) in the Greenland-North-Atlantic sector of the Arctic to explore the presence of coherent long-term trends and common low-frequent variability and compared those with transient climate model simulations. We used cluster analysis and empirical orthogonal functions to extract leading modes of sea-ice variability, which efficiently filtered out local variations and improved comparison between proxy records and model simulations. We find that a compilation of multiple proxy-based sea-ice reconstructions accurately reflects general long-term changes in sea-ice history, consistent with simulations from two transient climate models. Although sea-ice proxies have varying mechanistic relationships to sea-ice cover, typically differing in habitat or seasonal representation, the long-term trend recorded by proxy-based reconstructions showed a good agreement with summer minimum sea-ice extent from the model simulations. The short-term variability was not as coherent between proxy-based reconstructions and model simulations. The leading mode of simulated sea-ice associated with the multidecadal to centennial timescale presented a relatively low explained variance and might be explained by changes in solar radiation and/or inflow of warm Atlantic waters to the Arctic Ocean. Short variations in proxy-based reconstructions, however, are mainly associated with local factors and the ecological nature of the proxies. Therefore, regional or large-scale view of sea-ice trend necessitates multiple spatially spread sea-ice proxy-based reconstructions, avoiding confusion between long-term regional trends and short-term local variability. Local-scale sea-ice studies, in turn, benefit from reconstructions from well-understood individual research sites.

Ana Lúcia Lindroth Dauner et al.

Status: open (until 04 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1327', Stefan Kern, 09 Aug 2023 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1327', Kirsten Fahl, 03 Sep 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1327', Dmitry Divine, 25 Sep 2023 reply

Ana Lúcia Lindroth Dauner et al.

Ana Lúcia Lindroth Dauner et al.


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Short summary
In this study, we analysed 14 sea-ice proxy records and compared them with the results from two different climate simulations from the Atlantic sector of the Arctic Ocean over the Common Era (last 2000 years). Both proxy and model approaches demonstrated a long-term sea-ice increase. The good correspondence suggests that the state-of-the-art sea-ice proxies are able to capture large-scale climate drivers. Short-term variability, however, was less coherent due to local-to-regional scale forcings.