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Combined Influences on North American Winter Air Temperature Variability from North Pacific Blocking and the North Atlantic Oscillation: Subseasonal and Interannual Time Scales

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  • 1 Key Laboratory of Physical Oceanography/Institute for Advanced Ocean Studies, Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, and CAS Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2 CAS Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3 Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York
  • 4 School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 5 Key Laboratory of Physical Oceanography/Institute for Advanced Ocean Studies, Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China
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Abstract

Winter surface air temperature (SAT) over North America exhibits pronounced variability on subseasonal, interannual, decadal, and interdecadal time scales. Here, reanalysis data from 1950–2017 are analyzed to investigate the atmospheric and surface ocean conditions associated with its subseasonal to interannual variability. Detrended daily SAT data reveal a known warm west/cold east (WWCE) dipole over midlatitude North America and a cold north/warm south (CNWS) dipole over eastern North America. It is found that while the North Pacific blocking (PB) is important for the WWCE and CNWS dipoles, they also depend on the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When a negative-phase NAO (NAO) coincides with PB, the WWCE dipole is enhanced (compared with the PB alone case) and it also leads to a warm north/cold south dipole anomaly in eastern North America; but when PB occurs with a positive-phase NAO (NAO+), the WWCE dipole weakens and the CNWS dipole is enhanced. The PB events concurrent with the NAO (NAO+) and SAT WWCE (CNWS) dipole are favored by the Pacific El Niño–like (La Niña–like) sea surface temperature mode and the positive (negative) North Pacific mode. The PB-NAO+ has a larger component projecting onto the SAT WWCE dipole during the La Niña winter than during the El Niño winter because a more zonal wave train is formed. Strong North American SAT WWCE dipoles and enhanced projections of PB-NAO+ events onto the SAT WWCE dipole component are also readily seen for the positive North Pacific mode. The North Pacific mode seems to play a bigger role in the North American SAT variability than ENSO.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0327.s1.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dr. Dehai Luo, ldh@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

Winter surface air temperature (SAT) over North America exhibits pronounced variability on subseasonal, interannual, decadal, and interdecadal time scales. Here, reanalysis data from 1950–2017 are analyzed to investigate the atmospheric and surface ocean conditions associated with its subseasonal to interannual variability. Detrended daily SAT data reveal a known warm west/cold east (WWCE) dipole over midlatitude North America and a cold north/warm south (CNWS) dipole over eastern North America. It is found that while the North Pacific blocking (PB) is important for the WWCE and CNWS dipoles, they also depend on the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When a negative-phase NAO (NAO) coincides with PB, the WWCE dipole is enhanced (compared with the PB alone case) and it also leads to a warm north/cold south dipole anomaly in eastern North America; but when PB occurs with a positive-phase NAO (NAO+), the WWCE dipole weakens and the CNWS dipole is enhanced. The PB events concurrent with the NAO (NAO+) and SAT WWCE (CNWS) dipole are favored by the Pacific El Niño–like (La Niña–like) sea surface temperature mode and the positive (negative) North Pacific mode. The PB-NAO+ has a larger component projecting onto the SAT WWCE dipole during the La Niña winter than during the El Niño winter because a more zonal wave train is formed. Strong North American SAT WWCE dipoles and enhanced projections of PB-NAO+ events onto the SAT WWCE dipole component are also readily seen for the positive North Pacific mode. The North Pacific mode seems to play a bigger role in the North American SAT variability than ENSO.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0327.s1.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dr. Dehai Luo, ldh@mail.iap.ac.cn

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