Advertisement

Climate Dynamics

, Volume 23, Issue 3–4, pp 391–405 | Cite as

Twentieth century North Atlantic climate change. Part II: Understanding the effect of Indian Ocean warming

  • M. P. HoerlingEmail author
  • J. W. Hurrell
  • T. Xu
  • G. T. Bates
  • A. S. Phillips
Article

Abstract

Ensembles of atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) experiments are used in an effort to understand the boreal winter Northern Hemisphere (NH) extratropical climate response to the observed warming of tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the last half of the twentieth Century. Specifically, we inquire about the origins of unusual, if not unprecedented, changes in the wintertime North Atlantic and European climate that are well described by a linear trend in most indices of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The simulated NH atmospheric response to the linear trend component of tropic-wide SST change since 1950 projects strongly onto the positive polarity of the NAO and is a hemispheric pattern distinguished by decreased (increased) Arctic (middle latitude) sea level pressure. Progressive warming of the Indian Ocean is the principal contributor to this wintertime extratropical response, as shown through additional AGCM ensembles forced with only the SST trend in that sector. The Indian Ocean influence is further established through the reproducibility of results across three different models forced with identical, idealized patterns of the observed warming. Examination of the transient atmospheric adjustment to a sudden “switch-on” of an Indian Ocean SST anomaly reveals that the North Atlantic response is not consistent with linear theory and most likely involves synoptic eddy feedbacks associated with changes in the North Atlantic storm track. The tropical SST control exerted over twentieth century regional climate underlies the importance of determining the future course of tropical SST for regional climate change and its uncertainty. Better understanding of the extratropical responses to different, plausible trajectories of the tropical oceans is key to such efforts.

Keywords

Indian Ocean North Atlantic Oscillation North Atlantic Oscillation Index Tropical Indian Ocean Atmospheric General Circulation Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Bader J, Latif M (2003) The impact of decadal-scale Indian Ocean SST anomalies on Sahelian rainfall and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Geophys Res Lett 30, DOI 10.1029/2003GL018426Google Scholar
  2. Boville BA, Gent PR (1998) The NCAR climate system model, version one. J Clim 11: 1115–1130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cubasch U and Coauthors (2001) Projections of future climate change. In: Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Xiaosu D (eds) Climate change 2001, the scientific basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK pp 525–582Google Scholar
  4. Deser C, Phillips AS, Hurrell JW (2004) Pacific interdecadal climate variability: linkages between the tropics and North Pacific in boreal winter since 1900. J Clim (in press)Google Scholar
  5. Ferrara JD, Mechoso CR, Robertson AW (2000) Ensembles of AGCM two-tier predictions and simulations of the circulation anomalies during winter 1997–98. Mon Weather Rev 128: 3589–3604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gillett NP, Graf HF, Osborn TJ (2003) Climate change and the North Atlantic Oscillation. In: Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Ottersen G, Visbeck M (eds) The North Atlantic Oscillation: climatic significance and environmental impact. Geophys Monogr 134: 193–209Google Scholar
  7. Gordon C, Cooper C, Senior CA, Banks H, Gregory JM, Johns TC, Mitchell JFB, Wood RA (2000) The simulation of SST, sea ice extents and ocean heat transports in a version of the Hadley Centre coupled model without flux adjustments. Clim Dyn 16: 146–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hoerling MP, Kumar A (2003) The perfect ocean for drought. Science 299: 691–694CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Hoerling MP, Hurrell JW, Xu T (2001) Tropical origins for recent North Atlantic climate change. Science 292: 90–92PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Hurrell JW, Trenberth KE (1999) Global sea surface temperature analyses: multiple problems and their implications for climate analysis, modeling, and reanalysis. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 80: 2661–2678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hurrell JW, Hoerling MP, Phillips AS, Xu T (2004) Twentieth Century North Atlantic climate change. Part I. Assessing determinism. Clim Dyn (in press)Google Scholar
  12. IPCC (2001) Climate change 2001, the scientific basis. Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Xiaosu D (eds) Cambridge University Press Cambridge Uk pp 881Google Scholar
  13. Kiehl JT, Hack JJ, Bonan GB, Boville BA, Williamson DL, Rasch PJ (1998) The National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model: CCM3. J Clim 11: 1131–1149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee S, Kim H-K (2003) The dynamical relationship between subtropical and eddy driven jets. J Atmos Sci 60: 1490–1503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lin H, Derome J, Greatbatch RJ, Peterson KA, Lu J (2002) Tropical links of the Arctic Oscillation. Geophys Res Lett 29, DOI 10.1029/2002GL015822Google Scholar
  16. Lu J, Greatbatch RJ, Peterson KA (2004) On the trend in northern hemisphere winter atmospheric circulation during the last half of the 20th Century. J Clim 17: (in press)Google Scholar
  17. Mehta V, Suarez M, Manganello JV, Delworth TD (2000) Oceanic influence on the North Atlantic Oscillation and associated Northern Hemisphere climate variations: 1959–1993. Geophys Res Lett 27: 121–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pegion P, Suarez M, Schubert S (2001) An analysis of the causes of differences in circulation patterns during the El Niño winters of 1983 and 1998. 26th Annual Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop, La Jolla, CA. National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationGoogle Scholar
  19. Reynolds RW, Smith TM (1994) Improved global sea surface temperature analyses using optimum interpolation. J Clim 7: 929–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Robinson W (1992) Predictability of the zonal index in a global model. Tellus 44A: 331–338Google Scholar
  21. Robinson WA (1996) Does eddy feedback sustain variability in the zonal index? J Atmos Sci 53: 3556–3569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rodwell MJ, Rowell DP, Folland CK (1999) Oceanic forcing of the wintertime North Atlantic Oscillation and European climate. Nature 398: 320–323Google Scholar
  23. Roeckner E, and Coauthors (1996) The atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM4: model description and simulation of present-day climate. Max Planck Institut fur Meteorologiem Report 218, Hamburg, Germany, pp 90Google Scholar
  24. Schubert SD, Suarez MJ, Pegion PJ, Koster RD, Bacmeister JT (2003) Causes of long-term drought in the United States Great Plains. J Cim 17: 485–503Google Scholar
  25. Schneider EK, Bengtsson L, Hu Z.-Z (2003) Forcing of Northern Hemisphere climate trends. J Atmos Sci 60: 1504–1521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Simmons AJ, Wallace JM, Branstator G (1983) Barotropic wave propagation and instability, and atmospheric teleconnection patterns. J Atmos Sci 40: 1363–1392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smith TM, Reynolds RW, Livezey RE, Stokes DC (1996) Reconstruction of historical sea surface temperatures using empirical orthogonal functions. J Clim 9: 1403–1420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sutton RT, Hodson DLR (2003) The influence of the ocean on North Atlantic climate variability 1871–1999. J Clim 16: 3296–3313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sutton RT, Norton WA, Jewson SP (2001) The North Atlantic Oscillation - what role for the ocean? Atmos Sci Lett DOI 10.1006/asle.2000.0018Google Scholar
  30. Thompson DWJ, Wallace JM, Hegerl GC (2000) Annular modes in the extratropical circulation, Part II: trends. J Clim 13: 1018–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thompson DWJ, Lee S, Baldwin MP (2003) Atmospheric processes governing the Northern Hemisphere Annular Mode/North Atlantic Oscillation. In: Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Ottersen G, Visbeck M (eds) The North Atlantic Oscillation: climatic significance and environmental impact. Geophys Monogr 134: 81–112Google Scholar
  32. Ting M, Yu L (1998) Steady response to tropical heating in wavy linear and nonlinear baroclinic models. J Atmos Sci 55: 3565–3582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Trenberth KE, Branstator GW, Karoly D, Kumar A, Lau N.-C, Ropelewski C (1998) Progress during TOGA in understanding and modeling global teleconnections associated with tropical sea surface temperatures. J Geophys Res 103: 14,291–14,324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Venzke S, Allen MR, Sutton RT, Rowell DP (1999) The atmospheric response over the North Atlantic to decadal changes in sea surface temperatures. J Clim 12: 2562–2584CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Hoerling
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. W. Hurrell
    • 2
  • T. Xu
    • 1
  • G. T. Bates
    • 1
  • A. S. Phillips
    • 2
  1. 1.Climate Diagnostics Center NOAABoulderUSA
  2. 2.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations