Forcing of Tropical SST Anomalies by Wintertime AO-like Variability

Qigang Wu School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

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Abstract

A lagged maximum covariance analysis (MCA) is utilized to investigate large-scale patterns of covariability between sea surface temperature (SST) in the global tropics and 500-mb geopotential height (Z500) in the extratropics at monthly to interannual time scales distinct from the conventional El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal during the Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter. The first MCA mode indicates a strong impact of tropical SST anomalies associated with ENSO on the extratropical atmosphere. The second MCA mode corresponds with coupling between Arctic Oscillation (AO)-like atmospheric variations and tropical SST anomalies. An AO-like MCA mode appears to depict an atmosphere-to-ocean forcing, in which the tropical ocean responds to the higher extratropical AO-like atmospheric anomalies with an intraseasonal time lag. In winter, AO-like atmospheric variability is associated with the northern tropical Atlantic mode and the tropical Pacific ENSO Modoki mode through enhanced or weakened trade winds.

The above forced SST anomalies by the AO-like variability may play a role in the subsequent evolution of the conventional ENSO phenomena.

Corresponding author address: Qigang Wu, Suite 5900, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072. Email: wuqig@rossby.metr.ou.edu

Abstract

A lagged maximum covariance analysis (MCA) is utilized to investigate large-scale patterns of covariability between sea surface temperature (SST) in the global tropics and 500-mb geopotential height (Z500) in the extratropics at monthly to interannual time scales distinct from the conventional El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) signal during the Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter. The first MCA mode indicates a strong impact of tropical SST anomalies associated with ENSO on the extratropical atmosphere. The second MCA mode corresponds with coupling between Arctic Oscillation (AO)-like atmospheric variations and tropical SST anomalies. An AO-like MCA mode appears to depict an atmosphere-to-ocean forcing, in which the tropical ocean responds to the higher extratropical AO-like atmospheric anomalies with an intraseasonal time lag. In winter, AO-like atmospheric variability is associated with the northern tropical Atlantic mode and the tropical Pacific ENSO Modoki mode through enhanced or weakened trade winds.

The above forced SST anomalies by the AO-like variability may play a role in the subsequent evolution of the conventional ENSO phenomena.

Corresponding author address: Qigang Wu, Suite 5900, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072. Email: wuqig@rossby.metr.ou.edu

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