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Contributions of Downstream Eddy Development to the Teleconnection between ENSO and the Atmospheric Circulation over the North Atlantic

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  • 1 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
  • | 2 NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

The spatiotemporal evolution of various meteorological phenomena associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the North Pacific–North American–North Atlantic sector is examined using both NCEP–NCAR reanalyses and output from a 2000-yr integration of a global coupled climate model. Particular attention is devoted to the implications of downstream eddy developments on the relationship between ENSO and the atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic.

The El Niño–related persistent events are characterized by a strengthened Pacific subtropical jet stream and an equatorward-shifted storm track over the North Pacific. The wave packets that populate the storm tracks travel eastward through downstream development. The barotropic forcing of the embedded synoptic-scale eddies is conducive to the formation of a flow that resembles the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The more frequent and higher persistence of those episodes during El Niño winters contribute to the prevalence of negative NAO conditions.

The above processes are further delineated by conducting a case study for the 2009/10 winter season, in which both El Niño and negative NAO conditions prevailed. It is illustrated that the frequent and intense surface cyclone development over North America and the western Atlantic throughout that winter are associated with upper-level troughs propagating across North America, which in turn are linked to downstream evolution of wave packets originating from the Pacific storm track.

Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Corresponding author address: Ying Li, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 3915 W. Laporte Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: yingli@atmos.colostate.edu

Abstract

The spatiotemporal evolution of various meteorological phenomena associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the North Pacific–North American–North Atlantic sector is examined using both NCEP–NCAR reanalyses and output from a 2000-yr integration of a global coupled climate model. Particular attention is devoted to the implications of downstream eddy developments on the relationship between ENSO and the atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic.

The El Niño–related persistent events are characterized by a strengthened Pacific subtropical jet stream and an equatorward-shifted storm track over the North Pacific. The wave packets that populate the storm tracks travel eastward through downstream development. The barotropic forcing of the embedded synoptic-scale eddies is conducive to the formation of a flow that resembles the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The more frequent and higher persistence of those episodes during El Niño winters contribute to the prevalence of negative NAO conditions.

The above processes are further delineated by conducting a case study for the 2009/10 winter season, in which both El Niño and negative NAO conditions prevailed. It is illustrated that the frequent and intense surface cyclone development over North America and the western Atlantic throughout that winter are associated with upper-level troughs propagating across North America, which in turn are linked to downstream evolution of wave packets originating from the Pacific storm track.

Current affiliation: Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Corresponding author address: Ying Li, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, 3915 W. Laporte Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80523. E-mail: yingli@atmos.colostate.edu
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