1160 A Decadal-scale Air-sea Interaction Theory for North Atlantic Multidecadal Variability: the NAT-NAO-AMOC-AMO Coupled Mode and Its Remote Impacts

Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Cheng Sun, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China; and J. Li and F. F. Jin

Handout (1.9 MB)

North Atlantic region shows prominent multidecadal variability. Observational analysis shows that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) leads the oceanic Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) by 15-20 years and the latter also leads the former by around 15 years. The Community Climate System Model (CCSM) version 4 is employed to investigate the relevant mechanism in the linkage between the NAO and AMO. The results show that the positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) forces the strengthening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and induces a basin-wide uniform sea surface temperature (SST) warming that corresponds to the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). The SST field exhibits a delayed response to the preceding enhanced AMOC, and shows a pattern similar to the North Atlantic tripole (NAT), with SST warming in the northern North Atlantic and cooling in the southern part. This SST pattern (negative NAT phase) may lead to an atmospheric response that resembles the negative NAO phase, and subsequently the oscillation proceeds, but in the opposite sense. This implies a NAO-AMO-AMOC coupled mode in decadal scale. Based on these mechanisms, a simple delayed oscillator model is established to explain the quasi-periodic multidecadal variability of the NAO. The magnitude of the NAO forcing of the AMOC/AMO and the time delay of the AMOC/AMO feedback are two key parameters of the delayed oscillator. For a given set of parameters, the quasi 60-year cycle of the NAO can be well predicted. This delayed oscillator model is useful for understanding of the oscillatory mechanism of the NAO, which has significant potential for decadal predictions as well as the interpretation of proxy data records. The NAT-NAO-AMO-AMOC coupled mode has important influences on global and regional climate.

The time series of 20th century Siberian warm season (May to October) precipitation (SWP) shows variations over decadal timescales, including a wetting trend since the 1970s. Here, it is shown that the Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) can be implicated as a remote driver of the decadal-scale variations in SWP. Observational analysis identifies a significant in-phase relationship between the AMV and SWP, and the SWP decadal variability can be largely explained by the AMV. The physical mechanism for this relationship is investigated using both observations and numerical simulations. The results suggest that North Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) warming associated with the positive AMV phase can excite an eastward propagating wave train response across the entire Eurasian continent, which includes an east–west dipole structure over Siberia. The dipole then leads to anomalous southerly winds bringing moisture northward to Siberia; the precipitation increases correspondingly. The mechanism is further supported by linear barotropic modeling and Rossby wave ray tracing analysis.

A prominent teleconnection pattern of multidecadal variability of cold season (November to April) upper-level atmospheric circulation over North Africa and Eurasia (NA–EA) is revealed by empirical orthogonal function analysis of the Twentieth Century Reanalysis data. This teleconnection pattern is characterized by an eastward propagating wave train with a zonal wavenumber of 5 to 6 between 20° and 40°N, extending from the northwest coast of Africa to East Asia, and thus is referred to as the Africa–Asia multidecadal teleconnection pattern (AAMT). One-point correlation maps show that the teleconnectivity of AAMT is strong and further demonstrate the existence of the AAMT. The AAMT shapes the spatial structure of multidecadal change in atmospheric circulation over the NA–EA region, and in particular the AAMT pattern and associated fields show similar structures to the change occurring around the early 1960s. A strong in-phase relationship is observed between the AAMT and Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) and this connection is mainly due to Rossby wave dynamics. Barotropic modeling results suggest that the upper-level Rossby wave source generated by the AMV can excite the AAMT wave train, and Rossby wave ray tracing analysis further highlights the role of the Asian jet stream in guiding the wave train to East Asia. The AAMT acts as an atmospheric bridge conveying the influence of AMV onto the downstream multidecadal climate variability. The AMV is closely related to the coordinated change in surface and tropospheric air temperatures over Northwest Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Central China, which may result from the adiabatic expansion/compression of air associated with the AAMT.

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