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An Observed Connection between the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Madden–Julian Oscillation

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  • 1 MRD/ASTD, Environment Canada, Dorval, Québec, Canada
  • | 2 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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Abstract

Based on the bivariate Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) index defined by Wheeler and Hendon and 25 yr (1979–2004) of pentad data, the association between the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the MJO on the intraseasonal time scale during the Northern Hemisphere winter season is analyzed. Time-lagged composites and probability analysis of the NAO index for different phases of the MJO reveal a statistically significant two-way connection between the NAO and the tropical convection of the MJO. A significant increase of the NAO amplitude happens about 5–15 days after the MJO-related convection anomaly reaches the tropical Indian Ocean and western Pacific region. The development of the NAO is associated with a Rossby wave train in the upstream Pacific and North American region. In the Atlantic and African sector, there is an extratropical influence on the tropical intraseasonal variability. Certain phases of the MJO are preceded by the occurrence of strong NAOs. A significant change of upper zonal wind in the tropical Atlantic is caused by a modulated transient westerly momentum flux convergence associated with the NAO.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Hai Lin, MRD/ASTD, Environment Canada, 2121 route Trans-Canadienne, Dorval, QC H9P 1J3, Canada. Email: hai.lin@ec.gc.ca

Abstract

Based on the bivariate Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) index defined by Wheeler and Hendon and 25 yr (1979–2004) of pentad data, the association between the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the MJO on the intraseasonal time scale during the Northern Hemisphere winter season is analyzed. Time-lagged composites and probability analysis of the NAO index for different phases of the MJO reveal a statistically significant two-way connection between the NAO and the tropical convection of the MJO. A significant increase of the NAO amplitude happens about 5–15 days after the MJO-related convection anomaly reaches the tropical Indian Ocean and western Pacific region. The development of the NAO is associated with a Rossby wave train in the upstream Pacific and North American region. In the Atlantic and African sector, there is an extratropical influence on the tropical intraseasonal variability. Certain phases of the MJO are preceded by the occurrence of strong NAOs. A significant change of upper zonal wind in the tropical Atlantic is caused by a modulated transient westerly momentum flux convergence associated with the NAO.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Hai Lin, MRD/ASTD, Environment Canada, 2121 route Trans-Canadienne, Dorval, QC H9P 1J3, Canada. Email: hai.lin@ec.gc.ca

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