Climate change scenarios for the Hudson Bay region: an intermodel comparison

Alexandre S. Gagnon, William A. Gough

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82 Citations (Scopus)


General circulation models (GCMs) are unanimous in projecting warmer temperatures in an enhanced CO2 atmosphere, with amplification of this warming in higher latitudes. The Hudson Bay region, which is located in the Arctic and subarctic regions of Canada, should therefore be strongly influenced by global warming. In this study, we compare the response of Hudson Bay to a transient warming scenario provided by six-coupled atmosphere-ocean models. Our analysis focuses on surface temperature, precipitation, sea-ice coverage, and permafrost distribution. The results show that warming is expected to peak in winter over the ocean, because of a northward retreat of the sea-ice cover. Also, a secondary warming peak is observed in summer over land in the Canadian and Australian-coupled GCMs, which is associated with both a reduction in soil moisture conditions and changes in permafrost distribution. In addition, a relationship is identified between the retreat of the sea-ice cover and an enhancement of precipitation over both land and oceanic surfaces. The response of the sea-ice cover and permafrost layer to global warming varies considerably among models and thus large differences are observed in the projected regional increase in temperature and precipitation. In view of the important feedbacks that a retreat of the sea-ice cover and the distribution of permafrost are likely to play in the doubled and tripled CO2 climates of Hudson Bay, a good representation of these two parameters is necessary to provide realistic climate change scenarios. The use of higher resolution regional climate model is recommended to develop scenarios of climate change for the Hudson Bay region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-297
Number of pages29
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Global Warming
  • Regional Climate Model
  • Climate Change Scenario
  • Soil Moisture Condition
  • Warming Scenario


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