Research Project (3)

Atmospheric studies on Arctic change and its global impacts

Principal Investigator: Jinro Ukita (Niigata University)


A set of three questions must be addressed when we study underlying causes and mechanisms for the Arctic change. First we ask the question of how the Arctic climate system is infl uenced by the rest of the global climate system. It is under the infl uence of the CO2 increase. The amounts of heat and moisture transported to the Arctic region may be increasing due to global warming. Yet, we do not know the details. The second question looks into processes more internal to the Arctic. Without doubt the ice-albedo feedback process is critical. The smaller the coverage of sea ice the larger the amount of heat entering the upper ocean, thus accelerating the speed of sea ice reduction. Beyond, we have very limited knowledge on how things operate within the Arctic climate system. For example it is not a simple question as to how the rapid reduction in sea ice is linked to thawing of permafrost and forest fi res in Siberia, thereby modifying carbon cycle. Finally we ask how the Arctic change exerts influences on weather and climate outside the Arctic, especially those in Japan, through atmospheric teleconnection.

This research project, "Atmospheric studies on Arctic change and its global impacts", addresses the above three questions - outside influences, internal processes and teleconnection, relevant to the Arctic change. Our overall goal is to gain a better understanding of key physical and chemical processes relevant to the rapid changes in the Arctic climate system and their global impacts.

Key processes and elements of the Arctic climate system