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Bering Strait Ocean Heat Transport Drives Decadal Arctic Variability in a High-Resolution Climate Model
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  • Yuchen Li,
  • Wilbert Weijer,
  • Prajvala Kurtakoti,
  • Milena Veneziani,
  • Ping Chang
Yuchen Li
Stanford University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Wilbert Weijer
Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE)
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Prajvala Kurtakoti
Los Alamos National Laboratory
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Milena Veneziani
Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE)
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Ping Chang
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We investigate the role of ocean heat transport (OHT) in driving the decadal variability of the Arctic climate by analyzing the pre-industrial control simulation of a high-resolution climate model. While the OHT variability at 65˚N is greater in the Atlantic, we find that the decadal variability of Arctic-wide surface temperature and sea ice area is much better correlated with Bering Strait OHT than Atlantic OHT. In particular, decadal Bering Strait OHT variability causes significant changes in local sea ice cover and air-sea heat fluxes, which are amplified by shortwave feedbacks. These heat flux anomalies are regionally balanced by longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere, without compensation by atmospheric heat transport (Bjerknes compensation). The sensitivity of the Arctic to changes in OHT may thus rely on an accurate representation of the heat transport through the Bering Strait, which is difficult to resolve in coarse-resolution ocean models.