Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 7–8, pp 1593–1613 | Cite as

Winter ENSO teleconnections in a warmer climate

  • Ivana Herceg BulićEmail author
  • Čedo Branković
  • Fred Kucharski


Changes in the winter atmospheric response to sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in a warmer climate conditions are estimated from the two 20-member ensembles made by an atmospheric general circulation model of intermediate complexity. Warmer climate is simulated by a modification in the radiation parameterisation that corresponds to the doubled CO2 concentration, and SST forcing is represented by the same SST anomalies as in current climate (1855–2002) experiment superimposed on the climatological SST that was obtained from a complex atmosphere-ocean general circulation model forced with the doubled CO2. SST anomalies in the Niño3.4 region, categorised into five classes, enabled a composite analysis of changes in the Northern Hemisphere tropical/extratropical teleconnections. The main features of the tropical–extratropical teleconnections are maintained in both experiments; for example, irrespective of the sign of SST anomalies, the amplitude of the atmospheric response is positively correlated with the intensity of ENSO event and the El Niño impact is stronger than that of La Niña of the same intensity. The strongest extratropical signal in the warmer climate, particularly significant for strong warm events, is found over the Pacific/North American region; however, this extratropical teleconnections is reduced in a warmer climate relative to the current climate. Over the North Atlantic/European region, a detectable signal linked to ENSO is found; this model response is significantly strengthened in the experiment with the doubled CO2 concentration. Such an atmospheric response in a warmer climate is found to be associated with changes in the mean state followed as well as in the jet waveguiding effect and stationary wave activity.


ENSO Tropical-extratropical teleconnections Warmer climate 



We thank to two reviewers and the editor J-C Duplessy for their valuable comments, suggestions and constructive criticism which greatly improved the original version of the manuscript. This work has been supported by the Ministry of Science, Educational and Sports of the Republic of Croatia (grants No. 119-1193086-1323 and 004-1193086-3035). Ivana Herceg Bulić also acknowledges support by the European Science Foundation (ESF) activity entitled Mediterranean Climate Variability and Predictability (MedCLIVAR). Fred Kucharski has been supported by the EU ENSEMBLES project 6th Framework Programme, contract GOCE-CT-2003-505539.


  1. Benestad RE (2005) Climate change scenarios for northern Europe from multi-model IPCC AR4 climate simulations. Geophys Res Lett 32:L17704. doi: 10.1029/2005GL023401 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bourke W (1974) A multilevel spectral model. I. Formulation and hemispheric integrations. Mon Wea Rev 102:687–701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bracco A, Kucharski F, Kallummal R, Molteni F (2004) Internal variability, external forcing and climate trends in multidecadal AGCM ensembles. Clim Dyn 23:659–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brandefelt J (2006) Atmospheric modes of variability in a changing climate. J Clim 19:5934–5943CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brandefelt J, Kornich H (2008) Northern hemispheric stationary waves in climate projections. J Clim 21:6341–6353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Branković Č, Srnec L, Patarčić M (2010) An assessment of global and regional climate change based on the EH5OM climate model ensemble. Clim Change 98:21–49. doi: 10.1007/s10584-009-9731-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Branstator G (1983) Horizontal energy propagation in a barotropic atmosphere with meridional and zonal structure. J Atmos Sci 40:1689–1708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Branstator G (2002) Circumglobal teleconnections, the jet stream waveguide, and the north Atlantic oscillation. J Clim 15:1893–1910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Branstator G, Selten F (2009) “Modes of variability” and climate change. J Clim 22:2639–2658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collins M (2000) Understanding uncertainties in the response of ENSO to greenhouse warming. Geophys Res Lett 27(21):3509–3512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Compo GP, Sardeshmukh PD (2009) Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Clim Dyn 32:333–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deser C, Phillips AS (2009) Atmospheric circulation trends, 1950–2000: the relative roles of sea surface temperature forcing and direct atmospheric radiative forcing. J Clim 22:396–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Enfield DB, Luis Cid S (1991) Low-frequency changes in El Niño-southern oscillation. J Clim 4:1137–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fedorov AV, Dekens PS, McCarthy M, Ravelo AC, De Mencoal PB, Barreiro M (2006) The Pliocene paradox (mechanism for permanent El Niño). Science 312:1485–1489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fraedrich K (1994) An ENSO impact on Europe? A review. Tellus 46A:541–552Google Scholar
  16. Gates WL (1992) AMIP: the atmospheric model intercomparison project. Bull Amer Met Soc 73:1962–1970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Giorgi F, Coppola E (2007) European climate-change oscillation. Geophys Res Lett 34:L21703. doi: 10.1029/2007GL031223 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gordon C, Cooper C, Senior CA, Banks HT, 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 16:147–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Graham NE, Barnett TP (1987) Sea surface temperature, surface wind divergence, and convection over the tropical oceans. Science 238:657–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gregory JM, Stott PA, Cresswell DJ, Rayner NA, Gordon C, Sexton DMH (2002) Recent and future changes in Arctic sea ice simulated by the HadCM3 AOGCM. Geophys Res Lett 29(24):2175. doi: 10.1029/2001GL14575 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Guilyardi E, Wittenberg A, Fedorov A, Collins M, Wang C, Capotondi A, van Oldenburg GJ, Stockdale T (2009) Understanding El Niño in ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. Progress and challenges. Bull Amer Met Soc 90:325–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hannachi A, Turner AG (2008) Preferred structures in large scale circulation and the effect of doubling greenhouse gas concentration in HadCM3. Q J R Meteorol Soc 134:469–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hazeleger W, Severijns C, Seager R, Molteni F (2005) Tropical Pacific-driven decadel energy transport variability. J Clim 18:2037–2051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Held IM, Soden BJ (2006) Robust responses of the hydrological cycle to global warming. J Clim 19:5686–5699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Held IM, Suarez MJ (1994) A proposal for the intercomparison of dynamical cores of atmospheric general circulation models. Bull Amer Meteor Soc 75:1825–1830CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Held IM, Ting M, Wang H (2002) Northern winter stationary waves: theory and modeling. J Clim 15:2125–2144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Henderson-Sellers B (1987) Modelling sea surface temperature rise resulting from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Clim Change 11:349–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Herceg Bulić I (2010) The sensitivity of climate response to the wintertime Niño3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies of 1855–2002. Int J Climatol, n/a. doi: 10.1002/joc.2255
  29. Herceg Bulić I, Branković Č (2006) Seasonal climate sensitivity to the sea-ice cover in an intermediate complexity AGCM. Geofizika 23:37–58Google Scholar
  30. Herceg Bulić I, Branković Č (2007) ENSO forcing of the northern hemisphere climate in a large ensemble model simulations. Clim Dyn 28:231–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hirota T, Pomeroy JW, Granger RJ, Maule CP (2002) An extension of the force-restore method to estimating soil temperature at depth and evaluation for frozen soils under snow. J Geophys Res 107(D24):4767CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hoerling MP, Kumar A, Zhong M (1997) El Niño, La Niña, and the nonlinearity of their teleconnections. J Clim 10:1769–1786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hoerling M, Kumar A, Eischeid J, Jha B (2008) What is causing the variability in global land temperature? Geophys Res Lett 35:L23712. doi: 10.1029/2008GL035984 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hoskins BJ, Ambrizzi T (1993) Rossby wave propagation on a realistic longitudinally varying flow. J Atmos Sci 50:1661–1671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In: Solomon S, Quin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 966Google Scholar
  36. Jha B, Kumar A (2009) A comparison of the atmospheric response to ENSO in coupled and uncoupled model simulations. Mon Wea Rev 137:479–487. doi: 10.1175/2008MWR2489.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jin Z, Stamnes K, Weeks WF, Tsay SC (1994) The effect of sea ice on the solar energy budget in the atmosphere-sea ice-ocean system: a model study. J Geophys Res 99(12):25281–25294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Joseph R, Ting M, Kushner PJ (2004) The global stationary wave response to climate change in a Coupled GCM. J Clim 17:540–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kalnay E et al (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Amer Meteorol Soc 77:437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kiladis GN, Diaz HF (1989) Global climatic anomalies associated with extremes in the southern oscillation. J Clim 2:1069–1090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Knutson TR, Manabe S (1995) Time-mean response over the tropical Pacific to increased C02 in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. J Clim 8:2181–2199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kucharski F, Molteni F, Bracco A (2006) Decadal interactions between the western tropical Pacific and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Clim Dyn 26:79–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kucharski F, Bracco A, Yoo JH, Tompkins AM, Feudale L, Ruti P, Dell’Aquila A (2009) A Gill-Matsuno-type mechanism explains the tropical Atlantic influence on African and Indian monsoon rainfall. Q J R Meteorol Soc 135:569–579. doi: 10.1002/qj.406 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Manabe S, Stouffer R, Spelman M, Bryan K (1991) Transient responses of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to gradual changes of atmospheric CO2. Part I. Annual mean response. J Clim 4:785–818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Meehl GA, Teng H (2007) Multi-model changes in El Niño teleconnections over North America in a future warmer climate. Clim Dyn 29:779–790. doi: 10.1007/s00382-007-0268-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Meehl GA, Washington WM (1996) El Nino-like climate change in a model with increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Nature 382:56–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meehl GA, Branstator GW, Washington WM (1993) Tropical Pacific interannual variability and CO2 climate change. J Clim 6:42–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Meehl GA, Teng H, Branstator G (2006) Future changes of El Niño in two global coupled climate model. Clim Dyn 26:549–566. doi: 10.1007/s00382-005-0098-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meehl GA et al (2007) Global climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  50. Merryfield WJ (2006) Changes to ENSO under CO2 doubling in multimodel ensemble. J Clim 19:4009–4027CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Molteni F (2003) Atmospheric simulations using a GCM with simplified physical parameterizations. I: model climatology and variability in multi-decadal experiments. Clim Dyn 20:175–191Google Scholar
  52. Müller W, Roeckner E (2008) ENSO teleconnections in projections of future climate in ECHAM5/MPI-OM. Clim Dyn 31:533–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Peixoto JP, Oort AH (1992) Physics of climate. American Institute of Physics, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Pinto JG, Ulbrich U, Leckebusch GC, Spangehl T, Reyers M, Zacharias S (2007) Changes in storm track and cyclone activity in three SRES ensemble experiments with the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Clim Dyn 29:195–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pope V, Gallani ML, Rowntree PR, Stratton RA (2000) The impact of new physical parameterizations in the Hadley Centre climate model: HadAM3. Clim Dyn 16:123–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Räisänen J (2002) CO2-induced changes in interannual temperature and precipitation variability in 19 CMIP2 experiments. J Clim 15:2395–2411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rayner NA, Parker DE, Horton EB, Folland CK, Alexander LV, Rowell DP, Kent EC, Kaplan A (2003) Global analyses of SST, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since late nineteenth century. J Geophys Res 108:4407. doi: 10.1029/2002JD002670 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ropelewski C, Halpert M (1986) North American precipitation and temperature patterns associated with the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Mon Wea Rev 114:2352–2362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rowell DP (2005) A scenario of European climate change for the late twenty-first century: seasonal means and interannual variability. Clim Dyn 25:837–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Selten FM, Branstator GW, Dijkstra HA, Kliphuis M (2004) Tropical origins for recent and future Northern Hemisphere climate change. Geophys Res Lett 31:L21205. doi: 10.1029/2004GL020739 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Shindell DT, Miller RL, Schmidt GA, Pandolfo L (1999) Simulation of recent northern winter climate trends by greenhouse-gas forcing. Nature 399:452–455. doi: 10.1038/20905 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Simmons AJ, Wallace JM, Branstator GW (1983) Barotropic wave propagation and instability, and atmospheric teleconnection patterns. J Atmos Sci 40:1363–1392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Smith TM, Reynolds RW (2004) Improved extended reconstruction of SST (1855–1997). J Clim 17:2466–2477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stephenson DB, Held IM (1993) GCM response of northern winter stationary waves and storm tracks to increasing amounts of carbon dioxide. J Clim 6:1859–1870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Timmermann A, Oberhuber J, Bacher A, Esch M, Latif M, Roeckner E (1999) Increased El Niño frequency in a climate model forced by future greenhouse warming. Nature 398:694–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ting M, Hoerling MP, Xu T, Kumar A (1996) Northern hemisphere teleconnection patterns during extreme phases of the zonal-mean circulation. J Clim 9:2614–2633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Trenberth KE, Branstator GW, Karoly D, Kumar A, Lau NC, Ropelewski C (1998) Progress during TOGA in understanding and modelling global teleconnections associated with tropical sea surface temperatures. J Geophys Res 103:14291–14324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Turner AG, Inness PM, Slingo JM (2007) The effect of doubled CO2 and model basic state biases on the monsoon-ENSO system. I: mean response and interannual variability. Q J R Meteorol Soc 133:1143–1157. doi: 10.1002/qj.82 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Vecchi GA, Soden BJ (2007) Global warming and the weakening of the tropical circulation. J Clim 20:4316–4340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Vecchi GA, Soden BJ, Wittenberg AT, Held IM, Leetmaa A, Harrison MJ (2006) Weakening of tropical Pacific atmospheric circulation due to anthropogenic forcing. Nature 441:73–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivana Herceg Bulić
    • 1
    Email author
  • Čedo Branković
    • 2
  • Fred Kucharski
    • 3
  1. 1.Andrija Mohorovičić Geophysical Institute, Department of GeophysicsFaculty of Science, University of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service (DHMZ)ZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical PhysicsTriesteItaly

Personalised recommendations