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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
    Publication Date: 2019-03-14
    Description: The individual impact of North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean Western Boundary Currents (OWBCs) on the tropospheric circulation has recently been studied in depth. However, their simultaneous role in shaping the hemisphere-scale wintertime troposphere/stratosphere-coupled circulation and its variability have not been considered. Through semi-idealized Atmospheric General-Circulation-Model experiments, we show that the North Atlantic and Pacific OWBCs jointly maintain and shape the wintertime hemispheric circulation and its leading mode of variability Northern Annular Mode (NAM). The OWBCs energize baroclinic waves that reinforce quasi-annular hemispheric structure in the tropospheric eddy-driven jetstreams and NAM variability. Without the OWBCs, the wintertime NAM variability is much weaker and its impact on the continental and maritime surface climate is largely insignificant. Atmospheric energy redistribution caused by the OWBCs acts to damp the near-surface atmospheric baroclinicity and compensates the associated oceanic meridional energy transport. Furthermore, the OWBCs substantially weaken the wintertime stratospheric polar vortex by enhancing the upward planetary wave propagation, and thereby affecting both stratospheric and tropospheric NAM-annularity. Whereas the overall impact of the extra-tropical OWBCs on the stratosphere results mainly from the Pacific, the impact on the troposphere results from both the Pacific and Atlantic OWBCs.
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  • 3
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    In:  [Invited talk] In: 25. IUGG General Assembly Earth on the Edge: Science for a Sustainable Planet , 28.06.-07.07.2011, Melbourne, Australia .
    Publication Date: 2012-02-23
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 4
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    In:  [Invited talk] In: 2011 International Conference on Climate Change, 06.-07.12.2011, Taipei, Taiwan .
    Publication Date: 2012-02-23
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 5
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    In:  [Invited talk] In: AGCI workshop: Making Sense of the multi-model decadal prediction experiments from CMIP5, 26.06.-01.07.2011, Aspen, USA .
    Publication Date: 2012-02-23
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 6
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    Elsevier
    In:  International Journal of Forecasting, 27 (4). pp. 1000-1003.
    Publication Date: 2017-05-23
    Type: Article , 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: 2016-06-15
    Description: The effect of a warmer climate on the properties of extratropical cyclones is investigated using simulations of the ECHAM5 global climate model at resolutions of T213 (60 km) and T319 (40 km). Two periods representative of the end of the 20th and 21st centuries are investigated using the IPCC A1B scenario. The focus of the paper is on precipitation for the NH summer and winter seasons, however results from vorticity and winds are also presented. Similar number of events are identified at both resolutions. There are, however, a greater number of extreme precipitation events in the higher resolution run. The difference between maximum intensity distributions is shown to be statistically significant using a Kolmogorov–Smirnov test. A generalized Pareto distribution is used to analyse changes in extreme precipitation and wind events. In both resolutions, there is an increase in the number of extreme precipitation events in a warmer climate for all seasons, together with a reduction in return period. This is not associated with any increased vertical velocity, or with any increase in wind intensity in the winter and spring. However, there is an increase in wind extremes in the summer and autumn associated with tropical cyclones migrating into the extratropics
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  • 10
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    Taylor & Francis
    In:  Tellus A: Dynamic meteorology and oceanography, 63 (5). pp. 907-920.
    Publication Date: 2016-06-14
    Description: We have examined the atmospheric water cycle of both Polar Regions, polewards of 60°N and 60°S, using the ERA-Interim reanalysis and high-resolution simulations with the ECHAM5 model for both the present and future climate based on the IPCC, A1B scenario. The annual precipitation in ERA-Interim amounts to ∼17000 km3 and is more or less the same in the Arctic and the Antarctic, but it is composed differently. In the Arctic the annual evaporation is ∼8000 km3 but ∼3000 km3 less in the Antarctica where the net horizontal transport is correspondingly larger. The net water transport of the model is more intense than in ERA-Interim, in the Arctic the difference is 2.5% and in the Antarctic it is 6.2%. Precipitation and net horizontal transport in the Arctic has a maximum in August and September. Evaporation peaks in June and July. The seasonal cycle is similar in Antarctica with the highest precipitation in the austral autumn. The largest net transport occurs at the end of the major extra-tropical storm tracks in the Northern Hemisphere such as the eastern Pacific and eastern north Atlantic. The variability of the model is virtually identical to that of the re-analysis and there are no changes in variability between the present climate and the climate at the end of the 21st century when normalized with the higher level of moisture. The changes from year to year are substantial with the 20- and 30-year records being generally too short to identify robust trends in the hydrological cycle. In the A1B climate scenario the strength of the water cycle increases by some 25% in the Arctic and by 19% in the Antarctica, as measured by annual precipitation. The increase in the net horizontal transport is 29% and 22%, respectively, and the increase in evaporation correspondingly less. The net transport follows closely the Clausius–Clapeyron relation. There is a minor change in the annual cycle of the Arctic atmospheric water cycle with the maximum transport and precipitation occurring later in the year. There is a small imbalance of some 4–6% between the net transport and precipitation minus evaporation. We suggest that this is mainly due to the fact that the transport is calculated from instantaneous six hourly data while precipitation and evaporation is accumulated over a 6-h period. The residual difference is proportionally similar for all experiments and hardly varies from year to year.
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