Less Surface Sea Ice Melt Improves Arctic Sea Ice Simulation With Minimal Non-Arctic Climate Impacts

Dr. Jennifer Kay's seminar flyer

Dr. Jennifer Kay
Fellow and Associate Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder
Monday May 8, 2023, 2 PM ET



Observations show dramatic Arctic sea ice loss and surface warming in recent decades. Looking forward, projecting when the Arctic Ocean may become ice-free, and the resulting impacts is of broad interest to those living in the Arctic and beyond. Numerical coupled models are the main tool for making such projections. Yet, projecting sea ice loss timing is hard because of physical process uncertainty, climate driver uncertainty, and unpredictable climate variability. In this talk, I will present an overview of research over last decade analyzing processes controlling the transition to a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean in a warming world. Motivated by this overview, I will present recent work published in the Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems (https://doi.org/10.1029/2021MS002679) in which we analyzed the influence of surface sea ice surface melt on Arctic Ocean phase while also controlling for all other confounding factors such as the amount of global warming and unpredictable climate variability. In our work, we test and find evidence to support the following hypothesis: less surface sea ice melt delays transition to ice-free Arctic Ocean with minimal non-Arctic climate impacts. Yet, differences in transient climate change resulting from sea ice melt differences are challenging to detect due to large internally generated climate variability. More broadly, these results show the importance of surface melt when simulating the transition to an ice-free Arctic Ocean in a warming world. Additionally, this work highlights the importance of large initial condition ensembles for credible model-to-model and observation-model comparisons.


Dr. Jennifer Kay (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC) and a Fellow and Associate Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. With her research group and scientific collaborators around the world, Dr. Kay works at the nexus of observations and modeling to understand the processes controlling climate change and variability. A specific focus is connecting physics-based models with observed cloud, precipitation, radiation, and sea ice processes. Dr. Kay has authored 97 peer-reviewed papers about climate change and variability. Dr. Kay teaches data science and climate science to undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Kay received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and her B.A. from Brown University. In recognition of her contributions to climate science, Dr. Kay received the inaugural American Geophysical Union Future Horizons in Climate Science Turco Lectureship (2018), the University of Colorado’s Provost Faculty Achievement Award (2018), a National Science Foundation CAREER award (2016), and the American Meteorological Society Houghton G. Houghton Award (2016).


Event site: https://go.umd.edu/kay
Zoom Webinar: https://go.umd.edu/kaywebinar
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Zoom password: essic
US Toll: +13017158592
Global call-in numbers: https://umd.zoom.us/u/aMElEpvNu

For IT assistance:
Cazzy Medley: cazzy@umd.edu

Seminar schedule & archive: https://go.umd.edu/essicseminar
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Seminar recordings on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ESSICUMD


May 08 2023


John Xun Yang