Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Geosciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Mark Anderson. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2010
Copyright 2010 Kristen D. Fox


This study explores the role Arctic sea ice plays in determining mean sea level pressure and 1000 hPa temperatures during Northern Hemisphere winters while focusing on an extended period of October to March. This is accomplished by investigating two regions of the same size and comparable climatic zones and elevations in the Northern Hemisphere. A breakdown of 29 years of reanalysis data into average monthly values, anomalies, trends, and comparisons between regions serves as current data to compare with a computer model control run. Ensuring the control run accurately models current atmospheric patterns, altering the model inputs to have no permanent Arctic sea ice will then show what winters could look like in the Siberian and Canadian regions if Arctic sea ice continues to diminish. The results for the reanalysis show that the Siberian region has higher MSLP and lower 1000 hPa temperatures than the Canadian region. The control run accurately captures the seasonal cycle from the reanalysis, except the values were offset slightly. Expected conditions associated with no sea ice would be warmer temperatures and lower pressures, and this situation is reflected in the results from the no sea ice run for the Canadian region. However, the no sea ice run results indicate stronger pressures and colder temperatures in the Siberian region, particularly from January to March.