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Wind Stress and SST Variability in the North Atlantic Area: Observations and Five Coupled GCMs in Concert

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  • 1 Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, the Netherlands
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Abstract

Five coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation climate models and observations are compared with respect to their sea surface temperature (SST) and wind stress variability in the North Atlantic area, using 100 years of monthly means time series. Generalizations of the empirical orthogonal function and singular value decomposition techniques are described that circumvent the problem of the ambiguity of individual patterns inherent to eigenvalue methods. Using these generalized methods, a joint description of the air–sea interaction up until interannual timescales is obtained for all models and observations simultaneously. This mean description explains a substantial fraction of the variance and the correlation of wind stress and SST in all models and the observations, thereby indicating a common basis for air–sea interaction. It is in excellent agreement with previous observational studies.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jacob Verbeek, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Postbus 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, the Netherlands.

Email: verbeek@knmi.nl

Abstract

Five coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation climate models and observations are compared with respect to their sea surface temperature (SST) and wind stress variability in the North Atlantic area, using 100 years of monthly means time series. Generalizations of the empirical orthogonal function and singular value decomposition techniques are described that circumvent the problem of the ambiguity of individual patterns inherent to eigenvalue methods. Using these generalized methods, a joint description of the air–sea interaction up until interannual timescales is obtained for all models and observations simultaneously. This mean description explains a substantial fraction of the variance and the correlation of wind stress and SST in all models and the observations, thereby indicating a common basis for air–sea interaction. It is in excellent agreement with previous observational studies.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jacob Verbeek, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Postbus 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, the Netherlands.

Email: verbeek@knmi.nl

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