Schweiger, AJ, Zhang, J, Lindsay, RW, Steele, M (2008). Did unusually sunny skies help drive the record sea ice minimum of 2007?. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 35(10), L10503.
We conduct experiments with an ice-ocean model to answer the question whether and to what degree unusually clear skies during the summer of 2007 contributed to the record sea ice extent minimum in the Arctic Ocean during September of 2007. Anomalously high pressure over the Beaufort Sea during summer 2007 appears associated with a strong negative cloud anomaly. This anomaly is two standard deviations below the 1980 - 2007 average established from a combination of two different satellite-based records. Cloud anomalies from the MODIS sensor are compared with anomalies from the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis and are found in good agreement in spatial patterns and magnitude. However, these experiments establish that the negative cloud anomaly and increased downwelling shortwave flux from June through August did not contribute substantially to the record sea ice extent minimum. This finding eliminates one aspect of the unusual weather that may have contributed to the record minimum.