Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2881
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2881
18 Dec 2023
 | 18 Dec 2023

Brief Communication: Antarctic sea ice loss brings observed trends into agreement with climate models

Caroline R. Holmes, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Paul R. Holland, Julienne Stroeve, and Jeremy Wilkinson

Abstract. Most climate models do not reproduce the 1979–2014 increase in Antarctic sea ice cover. This was a contributing factor in successive Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports allocating low confidence to model projections of sea ice over the 21st century. We show that recent rapid declines bring observed sea ice area trends into line with the models. This implies that projections of substantial future Antarctic sea ice loss may be more reliable than previously thought, with substantial implications for the evolution of the Southern Hemisphere climate.

Caroline R. Holmes, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Paul R. Holland, Julienne Stroeve, and Jeremy Wilkinson

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-2023-2881', William Hobbs, 20 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2881', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Dec 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2881', Anonymous Referee #3, 24 Dec 2023
Caroline R. Holmes, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Paul R. Holland, Julienne Stroeve, and Jeremy Wilkinson
Caroline R. Holmes, Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Paul R. Holland, Julienne Stroeve, and Jeremy Wilkinson

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Short summary
Until recently, observed Antarctic sea ice was increasing, while in contrast numerical climate models simulated a decrease over the same period (1979–2014). This apparent mismatch was one reason for low confidence in model projections of large 21st century sea ice loss and related aspects of Southern Hemisphere climate. Here we show that, with the inclusion of several low Antarctic sea ice years (notably 2017, 2022 and 2023), we can no longer conclude that modelled and observed trends differ.