Arctic sea-ice movement pattern, and Arctic Rapid Change Pattern (Arctic dipole anomaly)
A previously unseen weather pattern has been observed over the Arctic by several groups of scientists since 2006. Some have called it the 'Arctic Rapid Change Pattern (others term it a 'dipole anomaly). It is characterized by low air pressure developing during the winter months off the north Russian coast and higher pressure on the opposite side of the Arctic Ocean, over Greenland and north of Canada. These conditions create winds that blow across the North Pole from Greenland towards Russia, weakening the ocean circulation in the Beaufort Gyre. The Beaufort Gyre is a slowly spinning whorl of cold, relatively fresh water and sea ice, partly driven by winds. It tends to hold sea ice in place for several years. Weaken the Beaufort Gyre and multi-year sea ice is more inclined to spill out through the Fram Strait into the North Atlantic, melting as it goes. This appears to be happening. Rapid export of sea ice from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic has been observed in recent years.
Citation: AMAP, 2012. Arctic Climate Issues 2011: Changes in Arctic Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost. SWIPA 2011 Overview Report. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), Oslo. xi + 97pp
Copyright: AMAP, 2012
Region: arctic ocean