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Creators/Authors contains: "Kirtman, Benjamin P."

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  1. Abstract

    The Madden‐Julian Oscillation (MJO) is often used for subseasonal forecasting of tropical cyclone (TC) activity. However, TC activity still has considerable variability even given the state of the MJO. This study evaluates the connection between MJO propagation speed with Atlantic TC activity and possible physical mechanisms guiding this relation. We find the Atlantic sees the highest accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) during MJO phase 2. However, the odds of above average ACE in the Atlantic is greatest during slow MJO propagation. We find that slow propagation of the MJO results in lower vertical wind shear anomalies over the Caribbean and main development region compared with typical MJO propagation. Typical MJO propagation produces an amplified height pattern and lower height anomalies along the region of the tropical upper tropospheric trough which is known to impede Atlantic TC activity. Slow MJO propagation sees weaker height anomalies over the Atlantic.

     
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  2. Abstract

    This study examines the impact of ocean advection and surface freshwater flux on the non‐seasonal, upper‐ocean salinity variability in two climate model simulations with eddy‐resolving and eddy‐parameterized ocean components (HR and LR, respectively). We assess the realism of each simulation by comparing their sea surface salinity (SSS) variance with satellite and Argo float estimates. In the extratropics, the HR variance is about five times larger than that in LR and agrees with Argo. In turn, the extratropical satellite SSS variance is smaller than that from HR and Argo by about a factor of two, potentially caused by the insufficient resolution of radiometers to capture mesoscale features and their low sensitivity to SSS in cold waters. Using a simplified salinity conservation equation for the upper‐50‐m ocean, we find that the advection‐driven variance in HR is, on average, 10 times larger than the surface flux‐driven variance, reflecting the action of mesoscale processes.

     
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  3. Abstract Quasi-decadal climate of the Kuroshio Extension (KE) is pivotal to understanding the North Pacific coupled ocean–atmosphere dynamics and their predictability. Recent observational studies suggest that extratropical-tropical coupling between the KE and the central tropical Pacific El Niño Southern Oscillation (CP-ENSO) leads to the observed preferred decadal time-scale of Pacific climate variability. By combining reanalysis data with numerical simulations from a high-resolution climate model and a linear inverse model (LIM), we confirm that KE and CP-ENSO dynamics are linked through extratropical-tropical teleconnections. Specifically, the atmospheric response to the KE excites Meridional Modes that energize the CP-ENSO (extratropicstropics), and in turn, CP-ENSO teleconnections energize the extratropical atmospheric forcing of the KE (tropicsextratropics). However, both observations and the model show that the KE/CP-ENSO coupling is non-stationary and has intensified in recent decades after the mid-1980. Given the short length of the observational and climate model record, it is difficult to attribute this shift to anthropogenic forcing. However, using a large-ensemble of the LIM we show that the intensification in the KE/CP-ENSO coupling after the mid-1980 is significant and linked to changes in the KE atmospheric downstream response, which exhibit a stronger imprint on the subtropical winds that excite the Pacific Meridional modes and CP-ENSO. 
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  4. Abstract

    Two decades of high-resolution satellite observations and climate modeling studies have indicated strong ocean–atmosphere coupled feedback mediated by ocean mesoscale processes, including semipermanent and meandrous SST fronts, mesoscale eddies, and filaments. The air–sea exchanges in latent heat, sensible heat, momentum, and carbon dioxide associated with this so-called mesoscale air–sea interaction are robust near the major western boundary currents, Southern Ocean fronts, and equatorial and coastal upwelling zones, but they are also ubiquitous over the global oceans wherever ocean mesoscale processes are active. Current theories, informed by rapidly advancing observational and modeling capabilities, have established the importance of mesoscale and frontal-scale air–sea interaction processes for understanding large-scale ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, and weather and climate variability. However, numerous challenges remain to accurately diagnose, observe, and simulate mesoscale air–sea interaction to quantify its impacts on large-scale processes. This article provides a comprehensive review of key aspects pertinent to mesoscale air–sea interaction, synthesizes current understanding with remaining gaps and uncertainties, and provides recommendations on theoretical, observational, and modeling strategies for future air–sea interaction research.

    Significance Statement

    Recent high-resolution satellite observations and climate models have shown a significant impact of coupled ocean–atmosphere interactions mediated by small-scale (mesoscale) ocean processes, including ocean eddies and fronts, on Earth’s climate. Ocean mesoscale-induced spatial temperature and current variability modulate the air–sea exchanges in heat, momentum, and mass (e.g., gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide), altering coupled boundary layer processes. Studies suggest that skillful simulations and predictions of ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, and weather events and climate variability depend on accurate representation of the eddy-mediated air–sea interaction. However, numerous challenges remain in accurately diagnosing, observing, and simulating mesoscale air–sea interaction to quantify its large-scale impacts. This article synthesizes the latest understanding of mesoscale air–sea interaction, identifies remaining gaps and uncertainties, and provides recommendations on strategies for future ocean–weather–climate research.

     
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  5. Abstract

    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 of sea ice. These patterns include the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), and the Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern; they are most active in wintertime, with a temporal spectrum that is nearly white. Stochastic variability in the NPO, PNA, and NAO force the ocean on days to interannual times scales by way of turbulent heat exchange and Ekman transport, and on decadal and longer time scales by way of wind stress forcing. The PNA is partially responsible for the Pacific decadal oscillation; the NAO is responsible for an analogous phenomenon in the North Atlantic subpolar gyre. In models, stochastic forcing by the NAO also gives rise to variability in the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) that is partially responsible for multidecadal anomalies in the North Atlantic climate known as the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO); observations do not yet exist to adequately determine the physics of the AMO. We review the progress that has been made in the past 50 years in understanding each of these phenomena and the implications for short-term (seasonal-to-interannual) climate forecasts. We end with a brief discussion of advances of things that are on the horizon, under the rug, and over the rainbow.

     
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