Climate Dynamics

, Volume 38, Issue 5–6, pp 929–949 | Cite as

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Northern Hemisphere’s climate variability

  • Marcia Glaze WyattEmail author
  • Sergey Kravtsov
  • Anastasios A. Tsonis


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 



We thank S. Minobe for a useful feedback on aspects of this study, and three anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript, which helped clarify the presentation. This research was supported by the Office of Science (BER), US Department of Energy (DOE) grant DE-FG02-07ER64428, NSF grant ATM-0852459 (SK), and NSF grant AGS-0902564.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcia Glaze Wyatt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sergey Kravtsov
    • 2
  • Anastasios A. Tsonis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geologic Sciences, CIRES, Benson Earth Sciences BuildingUniversity of Colorado-BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences GroupUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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