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Title: Two-Way Teleconnections between the Southern Ocean and the Tropical Pacific via a Dynamic Feedback
Abstract Despite substantial global mean warming, surface cooling has occurred in both the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean over the past 40 years, influencing both regional climates and estimates of Earth’s climate sensitivity to rising greenhouse gases. While a tropical influence on the extratropics has been extensively studied in the literature, here we demonstrate that the teleconnection works in the other direction as well, with the southeast Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean exerting a strong influence on the tropical eastern Pacific. Using a slab ocean model, we find that the tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) response to an imposed Southern Ocean surface heat flux forcing is sensitive to the longitudinal location of that forcing, suggesting an atmospheric pathway associated with regional dynamics rather than reflecting a zonal-mean energetic constraint. The transient response shows that an imposed Southern Ocean cooling in the southeast Pacific sector first propagates into the tropics by mean-wind advection. Once tropical Pacific SSTs are perturbed, they then drive remote changes to atmospheric circulation in the extratropics that further enhance both Southern Ocean and tropical cooling. These results suggest a mutually interactive two-way teleconnection between the Southern Ocean and tropical Pacific through atmospheric circulations, and highlight potential impacts on the tropics from the extratropical climate changes over the instrumental record and in the future.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range / eLocation ID:
6267 to 6282
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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