Cooler Arctic surface temperatures simulated by climate models are closer to satellite-based data than the ERA5 reanalysis

Tian Tian*, Shuting Yang, Jacob Lorentsen Høyer, Pia Nielsen-Englyst, Suman Singha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Many climate models simulate near-surface air temperatures that are too low in the Arctic compared to the observation-based ERA5 reanalysis data, a bias that was noted in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR6). Here we present a high-resolution, satellite-derived dataset of near-surface air temperatures for the Arctic sea-ice region (1982–2020). We use it as a benchmark to reevaluate climate reanalyses and model simulations in CMIP6 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 6). We find that the CMIP6 simulations in the central Arctic, with generally thicker ice and snow, align well with satellite observations, with an annual mean bias of less than ± 1 °C over sea ice. By contrast, climate reanalyses like ERA5 exhibit widespread warm biases exceeding 2 °C in the same region. We conclude that reliance on ERA5 reanalysis as a reference may have led to an underestimation of climate model reliability in the Arctic region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
JournalCommunications Earth and Environment
Volume5
Issue number1
Number of pages6
ISSN2662-4435
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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