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  • 11
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    Springer
    In:  Climate Dynamics, 51 (1-2). pp. 597-612.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: The Atlantic Niño is the dominant mode of interannual sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the eastern equatorial Atlantic. Current coupled global climate models struggle to reproduce its variability. This is thought to be partly related to an equatorial SST bias that inhibits summer cold tongue growth. Here, we address the question whether the equatorial SST bias affects the ability of a coupled global climate model to produce realistic dynamical SST variability. We assess this by decomposing SST variability into dynamical and stochastic components. To compare our model results with observations, we employ empirical linear models of dynamical SST that, based on the Bjerknes feedback, use the two predictors sea surface height and zonal surface wind. We find that observed dynamical SST variance shows a pronounced seasonal cycle. It peaks during the active phase of the Atlantic Niño and is then roughly 4–7 times larger than stochastic SST variance. This indicates that the Atlantic Niño is a dynamical phenomenon that is related to the Bjerknes feedback. In the coupled model, the SST bias suppresses the summer peak in dynamical SST variance. Bias reduction, however, improves the representation of the seasonal cold tongue and enhances dynamical SST variability by supplying a background state that allows key feedbacks of the tropical ocean–atmosphere system to operate in the model. Due to the small zonal extent of the equatorial Atlantic, the observed Bjerknes feedback acts quasi-instantaneously during the dynamically active periods of boreal summer and early boreal winter. Then, all elements of the observed Bjerknes feedback operate simultaneously. The model cannot reproduce this, although it hints at a better performance when using bias reduction.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 12
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    AMS (American Meteorological Society)
    In:  Journal of Physical Oceanography, 48 (2). pp. 261-281.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Multi-year moored velocity observations of the Angola Current near 11°S reveal a weak southward mean flow superimposed by substantial intraseasonal to seasonal variability, including annual and semiannual cycles with distinct baroclinic structures. In the equatorial Atlantic these oscillations are associated with basin-mode resonances of the fourth and second baroclinic modes, respectively. Here, the role of basin-mode resonance and local forcing for the Angola Current seasonality are investigated. A suite of linear shallow-water models for the tropical Atlantic is employed, each model representing a single baroclinic mode forced at a specific period. The annually and semiannually oscillating forcing is given by 1) an idealized zonally uniform zonal forcing restricted to the equatorial band corresponding to a remote equatorial forcing or 2) realistic, spatially-varying Fourier components of wind stress data that include local forcing off Angola, particularly alongshore winds. Model-computed modal amplitudes are scaled to match moored velocity observations from the equatorial Atlantic. The observed annual cycle of alongshore velocity at 11°S is well reproduced by the remote equatorial forcing. Including local forcing slightly improves the agreement between observed and simulated semiannual oscillations at 11°S compared to the purely equatorial forcing. However, the model-computed semiannual cycle lacks amplitude at mid-depth. This could be the result of either underestimating the strength of the second equatorial basin-mode of the fourth baroclinic mode or other processes not accounted for in the shallow-water models. Overall, our findings underline the importance of large-scale linear equatorial wave dynamics for the seasonal variability of the boundary circulation off Angola.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 13
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    AGU (American Geological Union) | Wiley
    In:  Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123 (3). pp. 2037-2048.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: Monthly mean sea level anomalies in the tropical Pacific for the period 1961-2002 are reconstructed using a linear, multi-mode model driven by monthly mean wind stress anomalies from the NCEP/NCAR and ERA-40 reanalysis products. Overall, the sea level anomalies reconstructed by both wind stress products agree well with the available tide gauge data, although with poor performance at Kanton Island in the western-central equatorial Pacific and reduced amplitude at Christmas Island. The reduced performance is related to model error in locating the pivot point in sea level variability associated with the so-called “tilt” mode. We present evidence that the pivot point was further west during the period 1993-2014 than during the period 1961-2002 and attribute this to a persistent upward trend in the zonal wind stress variance along the equator west of 160° W throughout the period 1961-2014. Experiments driven by the zonal component of the wind stress alone reproduce much of the trend in sea level found in the experiments driven by both components of the wind stress. The experiments show an upward trend in sea level in the eastern tropical Pacific over the period 1961-2002, but with a much stronger upward trend when using the NCEP/NCAR product. We argue that the latter is related to an overly strong eastward trend in zonal wind stress in the eastern-central Pacific that is believed to be a spurious feature of the NCEP/NCAR product.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: We quantify seasonal prediction skill of tropical winter rainfall in 14 climate forecast systems. High levels of seasonal prediction skill exist for year‐to‐year rainfall variability in all tropical ocean basins. The tropical East Pacific is the most skilful region, with very high correlation scores, and the tropical West Pacific is also highly skilful. Predictions of tropical Atlantic and Indian Ocean rainfall show lower but statistically significant scores. We compare prediction skill (measured against observed variability) with model predictability (using single forecasts as surrogate observations). Model predictability matches prediction skill in some regions but it is generally greater, especially over the Indian Ocean. We also find significant inter‐basin connections in both observed and predicted rainfall. Teleconnections between basins due to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) appear to be reproduced in multi‐model predictions and are responsible for much of the prediction skill. They also explain the relative magnitude of inter‐annual variability, the relative magnitude of predictable rainfall signals and the ranking of prediction skill across different basins. These seasonal tropical rainfall predictions exhibit a severe wet bias, often in excess of 20% of mean rainfall. However, we find little direct relationship between bias and prediction skill. Our results suggest that future prediction systems would be best improved through better model representation of inter‐basin rainfall connections as these are strongly related to prediction skill, particularly in the Indian and West Pacific regions. Finally, we show that predictions of tropical rainfall alone can generate highly skilful forecasts of the main modes of extratropical circulation via linear relationships that might provide a useful tool to interpret real‐time forecasts.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2019-04-11
    Type: Report , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2019-12-16
    Type: Conference or Workshop Item , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 17
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    Royal Meteorological Society
    In:  Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 143 (703B). pp. 706-719.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: The phase and the amplitude of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are influenced by numerous factors, which include Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies in both the Tropics and extratropics and stratospheric extreme events like Stratospheric Sudden Warmings (SSWs). Analyzing seasonal forecast experiments, which cover the winters from 1979/80–2013/14, with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast model, we investigate how these factors affect NAO variability and predictability. Building on the idea that the tropical influence might happen via the stratosphere, special emphasis is placed on the role of major SSWs. Relaxation experiments are performed, where different regions of the atmosphere are relaxed towards ERA-Interim to obtain perfect forecasts in those regions. By comparing experiments with relaxation in the tropical atmosphere, performed with an atmosphere-only model on the one hand and a coupled atmosphere–ocean model version on the other, the importance of extratropical atmosphere–ocean interaction is addressed. Interannual variability of the NAO is best reproduced when perfect knowledge about the NH stratosphere is available together with perfect knowledge of SSTs and sea ice, in which case 64% of the variance of the winter mean NAO is projected to be accounted for with a forecast ensemble of infinite size. The coupled experiment shows a strong bias in the stratospheric polar night jet (PNJ) which might be associated with a drift in the modelled SSTs resembling the North Atlantic cold bias and an underestimation of blockings in the North Atlantic/Europe sector. Consistent with the stronger PNJ, the lowest frequency of major SSWs is found in this experiment. However, after statistically removing the bias, a perfect forecast of the tropical atmosphere and allowing two-way atmosphere–ocean coupling in the extratropics seem to be key ingredients for successful SSW predictions. In combination with SSW occurrence, a clear shift of the predicted NAO towards lower values occurs.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 18
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    AMS (American Meteorological Society)
    In:  Journal of Climate, 30 (22). pp. 9321-9337.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: In the present study, the influence of some major tropical modes of variability on northern hemisphere regional blocking frequency variability during boreal winter is investigated. Reanalysis data and an ensemble experiment with the ECMWF model using relaxation towards the ERA-Interim reanalysis data inside the tropics are used. The tropical modes under investigation are El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and the upper tropospheric equatorial zonal-mean zonal wind . An early (late) MJO phase refers to the part of the MJO cycle when enhanced (suppressed) precipitation occurs over the western Indian Ocean and suppressed (enhanced) precipitation occurs over the Maritime Continent and the western tropical Pacific. Over the North Pacific sector, it is found that enhanced (suppressed) high latitude blocking occurs in association with El Niño (La Niña) events, late (early) MJO phases and westerly (easterly) . Over central to southern Europe and the east Atlantic, it is found that late MJO phases, as well as a suppressed MJO are leading to enhanced blocking frequency. Furthermore, early (late) MJO phases are followed by blocking anomalies over the western North Atlantic region, similar to those associated with a positive (negative) North Atlantic Oscillation. Over northern Europe, the easterly (westerly) phase of is associated with enhanced (suppressed) blocking. These results are largely confirmed by both the reanalysis and the model experiment.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 19
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    AGU (American Geological Union) | Wiley
    In:  Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (22). 11,537-11,546.
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: We show how a barotropic shallow water model can be used to decompose the mean barotropic transport from a high-resolution ocean model based on the vertically-averaged momentum equations. We apply the method to a high resolution model of the North Atlantic for which the local vorticity budget is both noisy and dominated by small spatial scales. The shallow water model acts as an effective filter and clearly reveals the transport driven by each term. The potential energy (JEBAR) term is the most important for driving transport, including in the northwest corner, while mean flow advection is important for driving transport along f/H contours around the Labrador Sea continental slope. Both the eddy momentum flux and the mean flow advection terms drive significant transport along the pathway of the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Current.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    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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