9.2 Advance understanding of the Arctic System by using global and regional models with detailed Arctic processes to understand feedbacks and interactions within the components of the Arctic system and with the climate system as a whole.

The Arctic environment is a complex system with many interacting components. The interdependencies in these components lead to positive and negative feedbacks. Variations in any one component will drive changes in the others, in ways that are not always obvious or well-understood. These variations include feedbacks between the Arctic and global system through cryosphere change and also feedbacks between cryospheric change and the local physical and biogeochemical responses that result in rapid changes within the Arctic region itself. For instance, amplified warming in the Arctic can influence mid-latitude weather patterns, but the underlying mechanisms of this relationship are not yet clear. The application of comprehensive, integrated global and regional earth system models will be needed to understand the interdependencies of the Arctic System and its relationship with the global earth system as a whole. Investments by DOE, NOAA, NASA, ONR and NSF in global and regional models, as well as efforts by interagency working groups such as the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Working Groups and U.S. Global Change Research activities can be leveraged as appropriate.

Performance elements from the Arctic research plan

  • 9.2.1 Support and coordinate research to advance understanding of the connections between the Arctic and mid-latitude weather patterns and vice-versa.
  • 9.2.2 Support and coordinate research to enhance the understanding of connections between Arctic and global ocean circulation.
  • 9.2.3 Enhance understanding of processes and their interactions and feedbacks within the Arctic System itself, including the complex relationships between the ocean, sea ice, land, and atmosphere; impacts of snow on ice; interactions between Arctic clouds and aerosols; effects of thermal forcing of sea ice; changes in ocean stratification; stratosphere-troposphere interactions; and radiative exchanges of energy throughout the system.
  • 9.2.4 Conduct a survey and identify investigator-driven modeling projects designed to understand important local and global Arctic System feedbacks.

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