Influence of the Multidecadal Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Variability on European Climate

Holger Pohlmann Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

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Frank Sienz Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg, and Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

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Mojib Latif Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, Kiel, and Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany

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Abstract

The influence of the natural multidecadal variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) on European climate is investigated using a simulation with the coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM). The results show that Atlantic MOC fluctuations, which go along with changes in the northward heat transport, in turn affect European climate. Additionally, ensemble predictability experiments with ECHAM5/MPI-OM show that the probability density functions of surface air temperatures in the North Atlantic/European region are affected by the multidecadal variability of the large-scale oceanic circulation. Thus, some useful decadal predictability may exist in the Atlantic/European sector.

Corresponding author address: Holger Pohlmann, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax NS B3H 4J1, Canada. Email: Holger.Pohlmann@dal.ca

Abstract

The influence of the natural multidecadal variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) on European climate is investigated using a simulation with the coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model ECHAM5/Max Planck Institute Ocean Model (MPI-OM). The results show that Atlantic MOC fluctuations, which go along with changes in the northward heat transport, in turn affect European climate. Additionally, ensemble predictability experiments with ECHAM5/MPI-OM show that the probability density functions of surface air temperatures in the North Atlantic/European region are affected by the multidecadal variability of the large-scale oceanic circulation. Thus, some useful decadal predictability may exist in the Atlantic/European sector.

Corresponding author address: Holger Pohlmann, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax NS B3H 4J1, Canada. Email: Holger.Pohlmann@dal.ca

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