Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2741
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2741
06 Dec 2023
 | 06 Dec 2023

Storylines of Summer Arctic climate change constrained by Barents-Kara Sea and Arctic tropospheric warming for climate risks assessment

Xavier Levine, Ryan Williams, Gareth Marshall, Andrew Orr, Lise Seland Graff, Dörthe Handorf, Alexey Karpechko, Raphael Köhler, René Wijngaard, Nadine Johnston, Hanna Lee, Lars Nieradzik, and Priscilla Mooney

Abstract. While climate models broadly agree on the changes expected to occur over the Arctic with global warming on a pan-Arctic scale (i.e., polar amplification, sea-ice loss, increased precipitation), the magnitude and patterns of those changes at regional and local scales remain uncertain. This limits the usability of climate model projections for risk assessments and their impact on human activities or ecosystems (e.g., fires, permafrost thawing). Whereas any single or ensemble-mean projection may be of limited use to stakeholders, recent studies have shown the value of the storyline approach in providing a comprehensive and tractable set of climate projections that can be used to evaluate changes in environmental or societal risks associated with global warming.

Here, we apply the storyline approach to a large ensemble of CMIP6 models, with the aim of distilling the wide spread in model predictions into four physically plausible outcomes of Arctic summertime climate change. This is made possible by leveraging strong covariability in the climate system, associated with well-known but poorly constrained teleconnections and local processes: specifically, we find that differences in Barents-Kara Sea warming and lower tropospheric warming over polar land regions among CMIP6 models explain most of the inter-model variability in pan-Arctic surface summer climate response to global warming. Based on this novel finding, we compare regional disparities in climate change across the four storylines. Our storyline analysis highlights the fact that, for a given amount of global warming, certain climate risks can be intensified while others may be lessened, relative to a “middle-of-the-road” ensemble mean projection. We find this to be particularly relevant when comparing climate change over terrestrial and marine areas of the Arctic, which can show substantial differences in their sensitivity to global warming. We conclude by discussing potential implications of our findings for modelling climate change impacts on ecosystems and human activities.

Xavier Levine, Ryan Williams, Gareth Marshall, Andrew Orr, Lise Seland Graff, Dörthe Handorf, Alexey Karpechko, Raphael Köhler, René Wijngaard, Nadine Johnston, Hanna Lee, Lars Nieradzik, and Priscilla Mooney

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2741', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Dec 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Xavier Levine, 22 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2741', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Jan 2024
Xavier Levine, Ryan Williams, Gareth Marshall, Andrew Orr, Lise Seland Graff, Dörthe Handorf, Alexey Karpechko, Raphael Köhler, René Wijngaard, Nadine Johnston, Hanna Lee, Lars Nieradzik, and Priscilla Mooney
Xavier Levine, Ryan Williams, Gareth Marshall, Andrew Orr, Lise Seland Graff, Dörthe Handorf, Alexey Karpechko, Raphael Köhler, René Wijngaard, Nadine Johnston, Hanna Lee, Lars Nieradzik, and Priscilla Mooney

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Short summary
While the most recent climate projections agree that the Arctic is warming, there remains differences in how much and in other climate variables such as precipitation. This presents a challenge for stakeholders who need to develop mitigation and adaptation strategies. We tackle this problem by using the storyline approach to generate four plausible and actionable realisations of end-of-century climate change for the Arctic, spanning its most likely range of variability.