Encyclopedia of Paleoclimatology and Ancient Environments

2009 Edition
| Editors: Vivien Gornitz

North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Records

  • Heidi M. Cullen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4411-3_153

Introduction

Natural climate variability in the Atlantic sector results from processes at work in the atmosphere and in the ocean, and interactions between the two. In general, Atlantic climate variability has been described as a function of three related components: (a) an atmospheric mode of variability known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), (b) an oceanic mode of variability known as Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, and possibly (c) an atmosphere-ocean mode of dynamics in the tropical Atlantic (see review by Marshall et al., 2001). The first component, the NAO, is the leading mode of atmospheric variability in the Atlantic sector and has been dubbed the regional manifestation of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) – the leading mode of large-scale atmospheric variability in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). The NAO/AO is second only to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in terms of the range of its climate impacts.

Impacts

The NAO has a profound impact on both marine...

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  • Heidi M. Cullen

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