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A Multidecadal-Scale Tropically Driven Global Teleconnection over the Past Millennium and Its Recent Strengthening

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  • 1 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • | 2 Department of Geography, and Earth Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
  • | 3 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • | 4 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • | 5 Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
  • | 6 Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • | 7 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • | 8 Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • | 9 Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • | 10 Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

In the past 40 years, the global annual mean surface temperature has experienced a nonuniform warming, differing from the spatially uniform warming simulated by the forced responses of large multimodel ensembles to anthropogenic forcing. Rather, it exhibits significant asymmetry between the Arctic and Antarctic, with intermittent and spatially varying warming trends along the Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes and a slight cooling in the tropical eastern Pacific. In particular, this “wavy” pattern of temperature changes over the NH midlatitudes features strong cooling over Eurasia in boreal winter. Here, we show that these nonuniform features of surface temperature changes are likely tied together by tropical eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs), via a global atmospheric teleconnection. Using six reanalyses, we find that this teleconnection can be consistently obtained as a leading circulation mode in the past century. This tropically driven teleconnection is associated with a Pacific SST pattern resembling the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), and hereafter referred to as the IPO-related bipolar teleconnection (IPO-BT). Further, two paleo-reanalysis reconstruction datasets show that the IPO-BT is a robust recurrent mode over the past 400 and 2000 years. The IPO-BT mode may thus serve as an important internal mode that regulates high-latitude climate variability on multidecadal time scales, favoring a warming (cooling) episode in the Arctic accompanied by cooling (warming) over Eurasia and the Southern Ocean (SO). Thus, the spatial nonuniformity of recent surface temperature trends may be partially explained by the enhanced appearance of the IPO-BT mode by a transition of the IPO toward a cooling phase in the eastern Pacific in the past decades.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

This article is included in the Connecting the Tropics to the Polar Regions Special Collection.

Corresponding author: Qinghua Ding, qinghua@ucsb.edu

Abstract

In the past 40 years, the global annual mean surface temperature has experienced a nonuniform warming, differing from the spatially uniform warming simulated by the forced responses of large multimodel ensembles to anthropogenic forcing. Rather, it exhibits significant asymmetry between the Arctic and Antarctic, with intermittent and spatially varying warming trends along the Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes and a slight cooling in the tropical eastern Pacific. In particular, this “wavy” pattern of temperature changes over the NH midlatitudes features strong cooling over Eurasia in boreal winter. Here, we show that these nonuniform features of surface temperature changes are likely tied together by tropical eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs), via a global atmospheric teleconnection. Using six reanalyses, we find that this teleconnection can be consistently obtained as a leading circulation mode in the past century. This tropically driven teleconnection is associated with a Pacific SST pattern resembling the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), and hereafter referred to as the IPO-related bipolar teleconnection (IPO-BT). Further, two paleo-reanalysis reconstruction datasets show that the IPO-BT is a robust recurrent mode over the past 400 and 2000 years. The IPO-BT mode may thus serve as an important internal mode that regulates high-latitude climate variability on multidecadal time scales, favoring a warming (cooling) episode in the Arctic accompanied by cooling (warming) over Eurasia and the Southern Ocean (SO). Thus, the spatial nonuniformity of recent surface temperature trends may be partially explained by the enhanced appearance of the IPO-BT mode by a transition of the IPO toward a cooling phase in the eastern Pacific in the past decades.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

This article is included in the Connecting the Tropics to the Polar Regions Special Collection.

Corresponding author: Qinghua Ding, qinghua@ucsb.edu
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