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Tropical and Extratropical Interaction and Its Impact on Extended-Range Forecasting. Part I: The Impact of Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

Kingtse C. MoClimate Analysis Center, NMC/NWS/NOAA, Washington, D.C.

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X. L. WangClimate Analysis Center, NMC/NWS/NOAA, Washington, D.C.

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M. S. TractonClimate Analysis Center, NMC/NWS/NOAA, Washington, D.C.

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Abstract

The impact of the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies on predictions in the extratropics has been studied by comparing circulation changes in general circulation model experiments generated with observed and climatological sea surface temperatures for warm and cold Southern Oscillation events. The small samples may be insufficient for drawing firm conclusions, but results suggest that the linkage between tropical and extratropical circulations in the model resembles observed relationships.

As the atmosphere responds to the warm (cold) tropical SSTs, the convection in the Pacific intensifies (diminishes). The enhanced (suppressed) convection in the tropics enhances (suppresses) the local Hadley circulation and changes the position and strength of the divergent outflow. This in turn changes the position, shape, and strength of the upper-level subtropical jet streams. After the jets move to their new positions, synoptic eddies organize themselves at the exit regions of the jets.

The response time for the upper-level streamfunction in the tropics is about 10 days, but the changes in the position of the subtropical jets occur after 15–20 days. The largest impact on predictions is located in the tropics and downstream in the Pacific-North America and the Pacific-South America regions.

Abstract

The impact of the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies on predictions in the extratropics has been studied by comparing circulation changes in general circulation model experiments generated with observed and climatological sea surface temperatures for warm and cold Southern Oscillation events. The small samples may be insufficient for drawing firm conclusions, but results suggest that the linkage between tropical and extratropical circulations in the model resembles observed relationships.

As the atmosphere responds to the warm (cold) tropical SSTs, the convection in the Pacific intensifies (diminishes). The enhanced (suppressed) convection in the tropics enhances (suppresses) the local Hadley circulation and changes the position and strength of the divergent outflow. This in turn changes the position, shape, and strength of the upper-level subtropical jet streams. After the jets move to their new positions, synoptic eddies organize themselves at the exit regions of the jets.

The response time for the upper-level streamfunction in the tropics is about 10 days, but the changes in the position of the subtropical jets occur after 15–20 days. The largest impact on predictions is located in the tropics and downstream in the Pacific-North America and the Pacific-South America regions.

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