Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 929-949

First online:

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability

  • Marcia Glaze WyattAffiliated withDepartment of Geologic Sciences, CIRES, Benson Earth Sciences Building, University of Colorado-Boulder Email author 
  • , Sergey KravtsovAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences Group, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • , Anastasios A. TsonisAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences Group, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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Proxy and instrumental records reflect a quasi-cyclic 50–80-year climate signal across the Northern Hemisphere, with particular presence in the North Atlantic. Modeling studies rationalize this variability in terms of intrinsic dynamics of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation influencing distribution of sea-surface-temperature anomalies in the Atlantic Ocean; hence the name Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). By analyzing a lagged covariance structure of a network of climate indices, this study details the AMO-signal propagation throughout the Northern Hemisphere via a sequence of atmospheric and lagged oceanic teleconnections, which the authors term the “stadium wave”. Initial changes in the North Atlantic temperature anomaly associated with AMO culminate in an oppositely signed hemispheric signal about 30 years later. Furthermore, shorter-term, interannual-to-interdecadal climate variability alters character according to polarity of the stadium-wave-induced prevailing hemispheric climate regime. Ongoing research suggests mutual interaction between shorter-term variability and the stadium wave, with indication of ensuing modifications of multidecadal variability within the Atlantic sector. Results presented here support the hypothesis that AMO plays a significant role in hemispheric and, by inference, global climate variability, with implications for climate-change attribution and prediction.


Climate indices Teleconnections AMO NAO ENSO PDO