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A Comparison of the Atmospheric Response to ENSO in Coupled and Uncoupled Model Simulations

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  • 1 RSIS, Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 2 NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
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Abstract

In the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are specified and the oceanic evolution consistent with air–sea interaction is not included. This omission could lead to errors in the atmospheric response to SSTs. At the same time, the AMIP experimental setup is well suited for investigating many aspects of climate variability (e.g., the attribution of the interannual atmospheric variability) and continues to be extensively used. As coupled El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) SST variability is a dominant factor in determining the predictable component of the observed interannual atmospheric variability, the difference in the atmospheric response to ENSO SSTs between AMIP and coupled simulations is investigated. The results indicate that the seasonal atmospheric response to ENSO between coupled and uncoupled integrations is similar, and the inclusion of oceanic evolution consistent with air–sea interaction does not play a dominant role. The analysis presented in this paper is one step toward assessing differences in atmospheric response to SSTs in coupled and uncoupled simulations, and is required to correctly interpret the results of AMIP simulations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Arun Kumar, Climate Prediction Center, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, 5200 Auth Rd., Rm 800, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: arun.kumar@noaa.gov

Abstract

In the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are specified and the oceanic evolution consistent with air–sea interaction is not included. This omission could lead to errors in the atmospheric response to SSTs. At the same time, the AMIP experimental setup is well suited for investigating many aspects of climate variability (e.g., the attribution of the interannual atmospheric variability) and continues to be extensively used. As coupled El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) SST variability is a dominant factor in determining the predictable component of the observed interannual atmospheric variability, the difference in the atmospheric response to ENSO SSTs between AMIP and coupled simulations is investigated. The results indicate that the seasonal atmospheric response to ENSO between coupled and uncoupled integrations is similar, and the inclusion of oceanic evolution consistent with air–sea interaction does not play a dominant role. The analysis presented in this paper is one step toward assessing differences in atmospheric response to SSTs in coupled and uncoupled simulations, and is required to correctly interpret the results of AMIP simulations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Arun Kumar, Climate Prediction Center, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, 5200 Auth Rd., Rm 800, Camp Springs, MD 20746. Email: arun.kumar@noaa.gov

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