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Improved key process in representing Arctic warming (D3.5)

Davy, Richard; Gao, Yongqi


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    <subfield code="a">Improved key process in representing Arctic warming (D3.5)</subfield>
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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Summary:&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

&lt;p&gt;This Blue-Action task was focused on improving the representation of some of the most important&lt;br&gt;
physical processes which contribute to Arctic warming within the climate models used by the&lt;br&gt;
consortium. The two processes we addressed were the effect on the atmospheric state of the fracturing&lt;br&gt;
of the sea ice cover and turbulence under strongly stable thermal stratification. The creation and&lt;br&gt;
development of&lt;br&gt;
&lt;strong&gt;The work done:&lt;/strong&gt; We first analysed the results of previously performed large eddy simulations which&lt;br&gt;
resolved the turbulence over leads to determine the effect leads have on sensible heat flux from open&lt;br&gt;
water. Because of the effect of three-dimensional structures in the turbulent mixing above leads, the&lt;br&gt;
heat flux coming from leads can be amplified compared to the fluxes one would get from open water&lt;br&gt;
under the same air-sea temperature difference. The amplification effect strongly depends on the width&lt;br&gt;
of the lead, with the largest effect occurring for leads of widths around 1.4 km. We assessed the&lt;br&gt;
functional sensitivity of this amplification effect to key parameters used in the turbulence-resolving&lt;br&gt;
model, including the length scale for the convective boundary layer, which reflects the background&lt;br&gt;
stability in the atmosphere.&lt;br&gt;
We combined this relation between the amplification effect of heat fluxes as a function of lead width&lt;br&gt;
with observed distributions of lead widths. These were taken from the peer-reviewed literature where&lt;br&gt;
&lt;strong&gt;The key findings: &lt;/strong&gt;The presence of leads in sea ice dramatically alters the surface energy balance in the&lt;br&gt;
Arctic. There is a large seasonal cycle to the effect of the presence of leads, because the flux from the&lt;br&gt;
leads depends strongly on the background stability in the atmosphere. In the winter when the&lt;br&gt;
atmosphere is often strongly stably stratified, the leads strongly amplify the surface sensible heat flux&lt;br&gt;
coming from open water. In the summer there is the opposite effect and the generally weaker&lt;br&gt;
atmospheric stability reduces the flux coming from leads.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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