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Linear and Nonlinear Responses to Middle Latitude Surface Temperature Anomalies

John O. RoadsClimate Research Group, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

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Abstract

Nonlinear responses to fixed and seasonally varying surface temperature anomalies in a two-level hemispheric time-dependent coupled atmosphere-surface mixed layer model are described. Linear stationary models that are equivalent to the nonlinear time-dependent model are used to analyze these responses. A model linearized around the climatological zonal state of the time dependent model and forced by anomalous surface temperatures does not provide a reasonable estimate for the anomalous responses, which are considerably underestimated. Better responses are obtained when the anomalous stationary nonlinear eddy fluxes are included in a model linearized around the full climatology. However, this latter model is overly sensitive, and anomalous responses are a small residual balance to the forcing by the surface temperature anomalies and the anomalous transient eddy fluxes. To better understand these linear responses, an eigenanalysis of the climatological state is performed. Seasonal anomalies appear to be dominated by one characteristic pattern near resonance which can be associated with a slowly growing coupled atmosphere-ocean instability.

Abstract

Nonlinear responses to fixed and seasonally varying surface temperature anomalies in a two-level hemispheric time-dependent coupled atmosphere-surface mixed layer model are described. Linear stationary models that are equivalent to the nonlinear time-dependent model are used to analyze these responses. A model linearized around the climatological zonal state of the time dependent model and forced by anomalous surface temperatures does not provide a reasonable estimate for the anomalous responses, which are considerably underestimated. Better responses are obtained when the anomalous stationary nonlinear eddy fluxes are included in a model linearized around the full climatology. However, this latter model is overly sensitive, and anomalous responses are a small residual balance to the forcing by the surface temperature anomalies and the anomalous transient eddy fluxes. To better understand these linear responses, an eigenanalysis of the climatological state is performed. Seasonal anomalies appear to be dominated by one characteristic pattern near resonance which can be associated with a slowly growing coupled atmosphere-ocean instability.

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