Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

An Integrated Observational / Modeling Assessment of the Effects of Recent and Future Arctic Change on Weather Systems in the United States

There is evidence from modeling studies that the amplified Arctic warming may have significant impacts on weather far beyond the Arctic, particularly if and when the Arctic Ocean transitions to a seasonally ice-free state. Some observational evidence suggests that such impacts are already being felt in the mid-latitudes. This projects examines the influence of sea ice loss on ongoing and anticipated future Arctic amplification and the impact of this Arctic warming on the large-scale circulation of the Northern Hemisphere extratropics and on United States weather patterns and precipitation. This study is using data from atmospheric reanalyses, satellite remote sensing, existing output from global climate models, and targeted modeling experiments. The project is employing a “knowns and unknowns” framework, considering 1) what we currently know about the influence of sea ice loss on Arctic amplification and atmospheric circulation in conjunction with; 2) key unknowns that will help “connect the dots.” Clearly, the "unknowns" far outweigh the "knowns," hence the critical need to better understand the remote response to Arctic sea ice loss.

Research Group


University of Colorado

John Cassano, Elizabeth Cassano. Mark Serreze, Julienne Stroeve

Rutgers University 

Jennifer Francis

Colorado State University

Dave Thompson

Funding Information

This project is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.