Low-frequency variability of surface air temperature over the Barents Sea: causes and mechanisms

Eveline C. van der Linden*, Richard Bintanja, Wilco Hazeleger, R.G. Graversen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The predominant decadal to multidecadal variability in the Arctic region is a feature that is not yet well-understood. It is shown that the Barents Sea is a key region for Arctic-wide variability. This is an important topic because low-frequency changes in the ocean might lead to large variations in the sea-ice cover, which then cause massive changes in the ocean-atmosphere heat exchanges. Here we describe the mechanism driving surface temperatures and heat fluxes in the Barents Sea based primarily on analyzes of one global coupled climate model. It is found that the ocean drives the low-frequency changes in surface temperature, whereas the atmosphere compensates the oceanic transport anomalies. The seasonal dependence and the role of individual components of the ocean-atmosphere energy budget are analyzed in detail, showing that seasonally-varying climate mechanisms play an important role. Herein, sea ice is governing the seasonal response, by acting as a lid that opens and closes during warm and cold periods, respectively, thereby modulating the surface heat fluxes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1262
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Arctic climate
  • Barents Sea
  • Coupled atmosphere-ocean model
  • Multidecadal variability

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