In situ observation networks and reanalyses products of the state of the atmosphere and upper ocean show well-defined, large-scale patterns of coupled climate variability on time scales ranging from seasons to several decades. We summarize these phenomena and their physics, which have been revealed by analysis of observations, by experimentation with uncoupled and coupled atmosphere and ocean models with a hierarchy of complexity, and by theoretical developments. We start with a discussion of the seasonal cycle in the equatorial tropical Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which are clearly affected by coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean. We then discuss the tropical phenomena that only exist because of the coupling between the atmosphere and the ocean: the Pacific and Atlantic meridional modes, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific, and a phenomenon analogous to ENSO in the Atlantic. For ENSO, we further discuss the sources of irregularity and asymmetry between warm and cold phases of ENSO, and the response of ENSO to forcing. Fundamental to variability on all time scales in the midlatitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are preferred patterns of uncoupled atmospheric variability that exist independent of any changes in the state of the ocean, land, or distribution more »
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Meteorological Monographs
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- p. 8.1-8.57
- American Meteorological Society
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Effects of Tropical Sea Surface Temperature Variability on Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone GenesisAbstract This study quantifies the contributions of tropical sea surface temperature (SST) variations during the boreal warm season to the interannual-to-decadal variability in tropical cyclone genesis frequency (TCGF) over the Northern Hemisphere ocean basins. The first seven leading modes of tropical SST variability are found to affect basinwide TCGF in one or more basins, and are related to canonical El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), global warming (GW), the Pacific meridional mode (PMM), Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and the Atlantic meridional mode (AMM). These modes account for approximately 58%, 50%, and 56% of the variance in basinwide TCGF during 1969–2018 over the North Atlantic (NA), northeast Pacific (NEP), and northwest Pacific (NWP) Oceans, respectively. The SST effect is weak on TCGF variability in the north Indian Ocean. The SST modes dominating TCGF variability differ among the basins: ENSO, the AMO, AMM, and GW are dominant for the NA; ENSO and the AMO for the NEP; and the PMM, interannual AMO, and GW for the NWP. A specific mode may have opposite effects on TCGF in different basins, particularly between the NA and NEP. Sliding-window multiple linear regression analyses show that the SST effects on basinwide TCGF are stablemore »
Based on observational data, this work examines the multi-time-scale feature of the sea surface temperature (SST) variability averaged in the whole North Atlantic Ocean (to be referred to as NASST), as well as its time-scale-dependent connections with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Traditionally, the NASST index is used to characterize the SST trend and multidecadal variability in the North Atlantic. This study found that superimposed on a prominent long-term trend, NASST is nonnegligible at subannual and interannual time scales, compared with that at decadal to multidecadal time scales. Spatially, the interannual variation of NASST is characterized by a horseshoe-like pattern of the SST anomaly (SSTA) in the North Atlantic. It is mainly a lagged response to ENSO through the atmospheric bridge, and NAO plays a secondary role. At the subannual time scale, both ENSO and NAO play a role in generating the fluctuations of NASST and a horseshoe-like pattern in the North Atlantic. Nevertheless, both the ENSO- and NAO-driven variations only explain a small fraction of the variances in both the interannual and subannual time scales. Thus, other factors unrelated to ENSO or NAO may play a more important role. The associated thermodynamical processes aremore »
Atlantic–Pacific Links in Observed Multidecadal SST Variability: Is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation’s Phase Reversal Orchestrated by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation?
The Atlantic and Pacific basin are found linked in the context of multidecadal SST variability from analyses of 118 years of observational data. Recurrent spatiotemporal variability, including multidecadal modes, was identified using the extended-EOF technique in a longitudinally global domain, allowing unfettered expression of interbasin interactions. The physicality of the obtained decadal modes was assessed using fishery records and analog counts.
A three-mode structure with bi-directional interbasin links frames the new perspective on the cycling of multidecadal SST variability. The three modes are the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), low-frequency North Atlantic Oscillation (LF-NAO), and North Pacific decadal variability [PDV-NP; resembling negative (–ve) PDO]. The two previously documented links AMO→PDV-NP (with ~12.5-yr lead) and LF-NAO→AMO (with 16-yr lead) are corroborated, while a third one, PDV-NP→(−LF-NAO) with ~6.5-yr lead, is uncovered. The interaction triad closes the loop on the cycling of multidecadal SST variability, generating AMO’s phase reversal in ~35 years, consistent with its widely noted ~70-yr time scale. The two previously noted links—one intrabasin and one interbasin—were unsuccessful in this regard.
Other findings include the deeper subsurface extensions of Atlantic multidecadal SST variability, and the hitherto unrecognized similarity of Pan-Pacific decadal variability and North Pacific Gyre Oscillation. Instrumental records, albeit shortmore »
Aerosol-forced multidecadal variations across all ocean basins in models and observations since 1920Earth’s climate fluctuates considerably on decadal-multidecadal time scales, often causing large damages to our society and environment. These fluctuations usually result from internal dynamics, and many studies have linked them to internal climate modes in the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Here, we show that variations in volcanic and anthropogenic aerosols have caused in-phase, multidecadal SST variations since 1920 across all ocean basins. These forced variations resemble the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) in time. Unlike the North Atlantic, where indirect and direct aerosol effects on surface solar radiation drive the multidecadal SST variations, over the tropical central and western Pacific atmospheric circulation response to aerosol forcing plays an important role, whereas aerosol-induced radiation change is small. Our new finding implies that AMO-like climate variations in Eurasia, North America, and other regions may be partly caused by the aerosol forcing, rather than being originated from the North Atlantic SST variations as previously thought.
Latitudinal Structure of the Meridional Overturning Circulation Variability on Interannual to Decadal Time Scales in the North Atlantic OceanAbstract The latitudinal structure of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) variability in the North Atlantic is investigated using numerical results from three ocean circulation simulations over the past four to five decades. We show that AMOC variability south of the Labrador Sea (53°N) to 25°N can be decomposed into a latitudinally coherent component and a gyre-opposing component. The latitudinally coherent component contains both decadal and interannual variabilities. The coherent decadal AMOC variability originates in the subpolar region and is reflected by the zonal density gradient in that basin. It is further shown to be linked to persistent North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) conditions in all three models. The interannual AMOC variability contained in the latitudinally coherent component is shown to be driven by westerlies in the transition region between the subpolar and the subtropical gyre (40°–50°N), through significant responses in Ekman transport. Finally, the gyre-opposing component principally varies on interannual time scales and responds to local wind variability related to the annual NAO. The contribution of these components to the total AMOC variability is latitude-dependent: 1) in the subpolar region, all models show that the latitudinally coherent component dominates AMOC variability on interannual to decadal time scales, with little contributionmore »