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Sea-ice-free Arctic during the Last Interglacial supports fast future loss

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

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Abstract

The Last Interglacial (LIG), a warmer period 130-116 ka before present, is a potential analog for future climate change. Stronger LIG summertime insolation at high northern latitudes drove Arctic land summer temperatures 4-5 °C higher than the preindustrial era. Climate model simulations have previously failed to capture these elevated temperatures, possibly because they were unable to correctly capture LIG sea-ice changes. Here, we show the latest version of the fully-coupled UK Hadley Center climate model (HadGEM3) simulates a more accurate Arctic LIG climate, including elevated temperatures. Improved model physics, including a sophisticated sea-ice melt-pond scheme, result in a complete simulated loss of Arctic sea ice in summer during the LIG, which has yet to be simulated in past generations of models. This ice-free Arctic yields a compelling solution to the longstanding puzzle of what drove LIG Arctic warmth and supports a fast retreat of future Arctic summer sea ice.

Description

Keywords

37 Earth Sciences, 3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 3705 Geology, 13 Climate Action

Journal Title

Nature Climate Change

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1758-678X
1758-6798

Volume Title

10

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Rights

All rights reserved
Sponsorship
Royal Society (RP\R\180003)