How will the earth’s climate respond to future changes in sea ice and snow cover?

Torben Königk of the Rossby Centre recently attended the launch meeting of the Impact of future cryospheric changes on Northern Hemisphere: Climate, green growth and society (GREENICE) project in Bergen. The GREENICE research project sets out to discover more about the interactions between changes in climate and changes in sea ice and snow cover.

How will the earth’s climate respond to future changes in sea ice and snow cover? Extreme weather events such as winter cold snaps and summer heat waves have been linked to the dramatic loss of sea ice and warming occurring in the Arctic. However, there is still controversy over the magnitude of these impacts and their underlying mechanisms. Thus, how much the observed extreme events are caused by the loss of Arctic sea ice remains an open question, which the GREENICE project seeks to address.

In an era of climate change, uncertainty about future change makes it difficult for northern communities to plan their adaptation and develop strategies for sustained green growth. The project will provide more constraint predictions of near-term changes in climate and better quantify the uncertainties of climate change for stakeholders and local communities.

The Rossby Centre will contribute to coordinated model sensitivity studies and future ensemble simulations in order to better understand the atmospheric response to Arctic sea ice and snow anomalies. In addition, existing future simulations and predictions with the global climate model EC-Earth and Rossby Centres regional models RCA and RCAO will be used to investigate the Arctic climate change in the next 30 years.

The GREENICE project is funded by Norden TRI for three years (2014-2016) and is coordinated by Noel Keenlyside of the University of Bergen.