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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-03-28
    Description: Beside its global effects, climate change is manifested in many regionally pronounced features mainly resulting from changes in the oceanic and atmospheric circulation. Here we investigate the influence of the North Atlantic SST on shaping the winter-time response to global warming. Our results are based on a long-term climate projection with the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) to investigate the influence of North Atlantic sea surface temperature pattern changes on shaping the atmospheric climate change signal. In sensitivity experiments with the model’s atmospheric component we decompose the response into components controlled by the local SST structure and components controlled by global/remote changes. MPI-ESM simulates a global warming response in SST similar to other climate models: there is a warming minimum—or ”warming hole”—in the subpolar North Atlantic, and the sharp SST gradients associated with the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current shift northward by a few a degrees. Over the warming hole, global warming causes a relatively weak increase in rainfall. Beyond this, our experiments show more localized effects, likely resulting from future SST gradient changes in the North Atlantic. This includes a significant precipitation decrease to the south of the Gulf Stream despite increased underlying SSTs. Since this region is characterised by a strong band of precipitation in the current climate, this is contrary to the usual case that wet regions become wetter and dry regions become drier in a warmer climate. A moisture budget analysis identifies a complex interplay of various processes in the region of modified SST gradients: reduced surface winds cause a decrease in evaporation; and thermodynamic, modified atmospheric eddy transports, and coastal processes cause a change in the moisture convergence. The changes in the the North Atlantic storm track are mainly controlled by the non-regional changes in the forcing. The impact of the local SST pattern changes on regions outside the North Atlantic is small in our setup.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
  • 3
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    In:  CLIVAR Exchanges, 27 (8 (2/3)). pp. 17-18.
    Publication Date: 2015-11-09
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2012-02-23
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 5
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    American Meteorological Society
    In:  Journal of Climate, 18 . pp. 5382-5389.
    Publication Date: 2017-08-23
    Description: The dominant pattern of atmospheric variability in the North Atlantic sector is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Since the 1970s the NAO has been well characterized by a trend toward its positive phase. Recent atmospheric general circulation model studies have linked this trend to a progressive warming of the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, a clear mechanism responsible for the change of the NAO could not be given. This study provides further details of the NAO response to Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. This is done by conducting experiments with a coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation model (OAGCM). The authors develop a hypothesis of how the Indian Ocean impacts the NAO.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 6
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    In:  [Talk] In: Korean German workshop, 20.-22.02, Hamburg .
    Publication Date: 2012-02-23
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2016-09-13
    Description: There is evidence that the observed changes in winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) drive a significant portion of Atlantic Multi Decadal Variability (AMV). However, whether the observed decadal NAO changes can be forced by the ocean is controversial. There is also evidence that artificially imposed multi-decadal stratospheric changes can impact the troposphere in winter. But the origins of such stratospheric changes are still unclear, especially in early to mid winter, where the radiative ozone-impact is negligible. Here we show, through observational analysis and atmospheric model experiments, that large-scale Atlantic warming associated with AMV drives high-latitude precursory stratospheric warming in early to mid winter that propagates downward resulting in a negative tropospheric NAO in late winter. The mechanism involves stratosphere/troposphere dynamical coupling, and can be simulated to a large extent, but only with a stratosphere resolving model (i.e., high-top). Further analysis shows that this precursory stratospheric response can be explained by the shift of the daily extremes toward more major stratospheric warming events. This shift cannot be simulated with the atmospheric (low-top) model configuration that poorly resolves the stratosphere and implements a sponge layer in upper model levels. While the potential role of the stratosphere in multi-decadal NAO and Atlantic meridional overturning circulation changes has been recognised, our results show that the stratosphere is an essential element of extra-tropical atmospheric response to ocean variability. Our findings suggest that the use of stratosphere resolving models should improve the simulation, prediction, and projection of extra-tropical climate, and lead to a better understanding of natural and anthropogenic climate change.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2016-05-31
    Description: The Arctic has undergone substantial changes over the last few decades in various cryospheric and derivative systems and processes. Of these, the Arctic sea ice regime has seen some of the most rapid change and is one of the most visible markers of Arctic change outside the scientific community. This has drawn considerable attention not only from the natural sciences, but increasingly, from the political and commercial sectors as they begin to grapple with the problems and opportunities that are being presented. The possible impacts of past and projected changes in Arctic sea ice, especially as it relates to climatic response, are of particular interest and have been the subject of increasing research activity. A review of the current knowledge of the role of sea ice in the climate system is therefore timely. We present a review that examines both the current state of understanding, as regards the impacts of sea-ice loss observed to date, and climate model projections, to highlight hypothesised future changes and impacts on storm tracks and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Within the broad climate-system perspective, the topics of storminess and large-scale variability will be specifically considered. We then consider larger-scale impacts on the climatic system by reviewing studies that have focused on the interaction between sea-ice extent and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Finally, an overview of the representation of these topics in the literature in the context of IPCC climate projections is presented. While most agree on the direction of Arctic sea-ice change, the rates amongst the various projections vary greatly. Similarly, the response of storm tracks and climate variability are uncertain, exacerbated possibly by the influence of other factors. A variety of scientific papers on the relationship between sea-ice changes and atmospheric variability have brought to light important aspects of this complex topic. Examples are an overall reduction in the number of Arctic winter storms, a northward shift of mid-latitude winter storms in the Pacific and a delayed negative NAO-like response in autumn/winter to a reduced Arctic sea-ice cover (at least in some months). This review paper discusses this research and the disagreements, bringing about a fresh perspective on this issue. Highlights: ► Observed decrease in sea-ice extent is faster than predicted. ► September sea ice reaching record low in recent years. ► Reduction in the number of Arctic winter storms. ► Northward shift of midlatitude storms and uncertainty over changes in intensity. ► Most models simulate a negative NAO response when forced with less Arctic sea-ice.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-02-20
    Description: The sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of the tropical Indian Ocean show a pronounced warming since the 1950s. We have analyzed the impact of this warming on Sahelian rainfall and on the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) by conducting ensemble experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model. Additionally, we investigate the impact of the other two tropical oceans on these two climate parameters. Our results suggest that the warming trend in the Indian Ocean played a crucial role for the drying trend over the West Sahel from the 1950s to 1990s and may also have contributed to the strengthening of the NAO during the most recent decades.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 10
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    AGU
    In:  Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (L01710).
    Publication Date: 2018-02-15
    Description: The anomalously strong hurricane activity in the Atlantic sector during the recent years led to a controversy about the impact of global warming on hurricane activity in the Atlantic sector. Here we show that the temperature difference between the tropical North Atlantic and the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans (Indo-Pacific) is a key parameter in controlling the vertical wind shear over the Atlantic, an important quantity for hurricane activity. The stronger warming of the tropical North Atlantic relative to that of the Indo-Pacific during the most recent years drove reduced vertical wind shear over the Atlantic and is thus responsible for the strong hurricane activity observed. In 2006, however, the temperature difference between the tropical North Atlantic and the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans is much reduced, which explains the relatively weak hurricane season.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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