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Model Studies of the Effects of Global Warming and Antarctic Sea Ice Changes on Antarctic and Global Climates,

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We discuss the results obtained in three experiments by changing the global ocean temperatures and the concentration and distribution of Antarctic sea ice in a General Circulation Model of July climate, with a view to determining the local and global impacts of Antarctic sea ice variations alone, as distinct with those coupled with global scale temperature changes which may be associated with global warming. In all cases there were significant changes in the upward flux of sensible heat over the sea ice zone associated with the reductions of sea ice. The response of weaker westerlies between 40 and 65 deg S was common to all three experiments. Our analyses suggest that a significant proportion of this is a response to the change in sea ice concentration alone. Not surprisingly, further north of this region most of the changes induced in the wind structure in the global forcing experiment can be seen as due unambiguously to the differential changes in ocean temperatures.. This weakening of the westerlies means there is less mechanical forcing of the ocean in this region. From this we suggest that when consideration is given to the possible impact of feedbacks not considered in these experiments, sea ice changes alone, and particularly those in the Southern Hemisphere, have the potential to induce changes on a hemispheric scale.

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  • Meteorology
  • Snow, Ice and Permafrost

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