Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. Components of interannual, intermonthly, and total monthly variability of lower troposphere temperature are calculated from a global coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (GCM) (referred to as the coupled model), from the same atmospheric model coupled to a nondynamic mixed-layer ocean (referred to as the mixed-layer model), and from microwave sounding unit (MSU) satellite data. The coupled model produces most features of intermonthly and interannual variability compared to the MSU data, but with somewhat reduced amplitude in the extratropics and increased variability in the tropical western Pacific and tropical Atlantic. The relatively short 14-year period of record of the MSU data precludes definitive conclusions about variability in the observed system at longer time scales (e.g., decadal or longer). Different 14-year periods from the coupled model show variability on those longer time scales that were noted in Part 1 of this series. The relative contributions of intermonthly and interannual variability that make up the total monthly variability are similar between the coupled model and the MSU data, suggesting that similar mechanisms are at work in both the model and observed system. These include El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-type interannual variability in the tropics, Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)-type intermonthly variability in the tropics, and blocking-type intermonthly variability in the extratropics. Manifestations of all of these features have been noted in various versions of the model. Significant changes of variability noted in the coupled model with doubled carbon dioxide differ from those in our mixed-layer model and earlier studies with mixed-layer models. In particular, in our mixed-layer model intermonthly and interannual variability changes are similar with a mixture of regional increases and decreases, but with mainly decreases in the zonal mean from about 20° S to 60° N and near 60° S. In the coupled model, intermonthly and interannual changes of variability with doubled CO2 show mostly increases of tropical interannual variability and decreases of intermonthly variability near 60° N. These changes in the tropics are related to changes in ENSO, the south Asian monsoon, and other regional hydrological regimes, while the alterations near 60° N are likely associated with changes in blocking activity. These results point to the important contribution from ENSO seen in the coupled model and the MSU data that are not present in the mixed-layer model.
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