Sea ice loss of the Barents-Kara Sea enhances the winter warming over the Tibetan Plateau

Anmin Duan, Yuzhuo Peng, Jiping Liu, Yuhang Chen, Guoxiong Wu, David M. Holland, Bian He, Wenting Hu, Yuheng Tang, Xichen Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Tibetan Plateau (TP) is known as one of the most sensitive regions to climate change, and it has experienced accelerated warming in recent decades. However, to what degree the TP warming amplification relates to remote forcing such as sea ice loss in the Arctic sea ice remains unclear. Here, we found that the decline of sea ice concentration over the Barents-Kara Sea (BKS) could account for 18–32% of the winter warming over the TP by comparing observational data and ensemble experiments from an atmospheric general circulation model. The reduced BKS sea ice and resultant upward turbulent heat fluxes can intensify a Rossby wave train propagating equatorward to the TP. As a result, the enhanced southwesterlies towards the TP strengthen the warm advection over most parts of the TP and lead to TP warming. In addition, an atmospheric teleconnection between the Arctic and the TP also exists in the interannual variability. That is, a tripole mode in air temperature, with warm centers in the Arctic and TP but a cold center in the mid-high latitudes of the Eurasian continent in between. Our results imply that the BKS sea ice loss could intensify such a tripole mode and thus enhancing the winter TP warming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
Journalnpj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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