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Relationships between Low-Frequency Variability in the Southern Hemisphere and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

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  • 1 Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, Camp Springs, Maryland
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Abstract

Long-term trends and interannual variations of circulation anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere are examined using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis from 1949 to 1998. The changes in planetary circulation regimes are linked to global sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs).

Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis was performed on 500-hPa height anomalies. The leading mode EOF1 shows a strong zonal symmetry with a phase reversal between height anomalies in high and midlatitudes. Apart from zonal symmetry, a zonal wavenumber 3 is evident with three centers located in three southern oceans. In the low-frequency band with fluctuations longer than 60 months, EOF1 is associated with the second rotated EOF mode of SSTAs with positive loadings over three southern oceans and negative loadings in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.

The next two modes are the Pacific–South American (PSA) patterns. They depict wave-3 patterns in quadrature with each other and a well-defined wave train from the tropical Pacific to Argentina with large amplitudes in the Pacific–South American sector. On decadal timescales, the abrupt warming over the central and eastern Pacific is related to the strengthening of PSA1. In the interannual band, PSA1 is associated with the low-frequency part of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability with the dominant period of 40–48 months. PSA2 is associated with the quasi-biennial component of ENSO variability with a period of 26 months.

Corresponding author address: Kingtse Mo, Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs, MD 20746.

Email: kmo@ncep.noaa.gov

Abstract

Long-term trends and interannual variations of circulation anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere are examined using the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis from 1949 to 1998. The changes in planetary circulation regimes are linked to global sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs).

Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis was performed on 500-hPa height anomalies. The leading mode EOF1 shows a strong zonal symmetry with a phase reversal between height anomalies in high and midlatitudes. Apart from zonal symmetry, a zonal wavenumber 3 is evident with three centers located in three southern oceans. In the low-frequency band with fluctuations longer than 60 months, EOF1 is associated with the second rotated EOF mode of SSTAs with positive loadings over three southern oceans and negative loadings in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.

The next two modes are the Pacific–South American (PSA) patterns. They depict wave-3 patterns in quadrature with each other and a well-defined wave train from the tropical Pacific to Argentina with large amplitudes in the Pacific–South American sector. On decadal timescales, the abrupt warming over the central and eastern Pacific is related to the strengthening of PSA1. In the interannual band, PSA1 is associated with the low-frequency part of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability with the dominant period of 40–48 months. PSA2 is associated with the quasi-biennial component of ENSO variability with a period of 26 months.

Corresponding author address: Kingtse Mo, Climate Prediction Center, NCEP/NWS/NOAA, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs, MD 20746.

Email: kmo@ncep.noaa.gov

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