An initial assessment of Antarctic Sea ice extent in the CMIP5 models

Turner, John ORCID:; Bracegirdle, Thomas J. ORCID:; Phillips, Tony ORCID:; Marshall, Gareth J. ORCID:; Hosking, J. Scott ORCID: 2013 An initial assessment of Antarctic Sea ice extent in the CMIP5 models. Journal of Climate, 26 (5). 1473-1484.

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This paper examines the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 models used in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small of an SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two-thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum. In contrast to the satellite data, which exhibit a slight increase in SIE, the mean SIE of the models over 1979–2005 shows a decrease in each month, with the greatest multimodel mean percentage monthly decline of 13.6% decade−1 in February and the greatest absolute loss of ice of −0.40 × 106 km2 decade−1 in September. The models have very large differences in SIE over 1860–2005. Most of the control runs have statistically significant trends in SIE over their full time span, and all of the models have a negative trend in SIE since the mid-nineteenth century. The negative SIE trends in most of the model runs over 1979–2005 are a continuation of an earlier decline, suggesting that the processes responsible for the observed increase over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Polar Science for Planet Earth (2009 - ) > Climate
ISSN: 0894-8755
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: © Copyright 2013 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or
Additional Keywords: Antarctica, sea ice, climate change, numerical analysis/modeling
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 30 Apr 2013 08:49 +0 (UTC)

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