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Michael Goss, Steven B. Feldstein, and Sukyoung Lee

Abstract

The interference between transient eddies and climatological stationary eddies in the Northern Hemisphere is investigated. The amplitude and sign of the interference is represented by the stationary wave index (SWI), which is calculated by projecting the daily 300-hPa streamfunction anomaly field onto the 300-hPa climatological stationary wave. ERA-Interim data for the years 1979 to 2013 are used. The amplitude of the interference peaks during boreal winter. The evolution of outgoing longwave radiation, Arctic temperature, 300-hPa streamfunction, 10-hPa zonal wind, Arctic sea ice concentration, and the Arctic Oscillation (AO) index are examined for days of large SWI values during the winter.

Constructive interference during winter tends to occur about one week after enhanced warm pool convection and is followed by an increase in Arctic surface air temperature along with a reduction of sea ice in the Barents and Kara Seas. The warming of the Arctic does occur without prior warm pool convection, but it is enhanced and prolonged when constructive interference occurs in concert with enhanced warm pool convection. This is followed two weeks later by a weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex and a decline of the AO. All of these associations are reversed in the case of destructive interference. Potential climate change implications are briefly discussed.

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Kate Snow, Andrew McC. Hogg, Bernadette M. Sloyan, and Stephanie M. Downes

Abstract

The influence of freshwater and heat flux changes on Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) properties are investigated within a realistic bathymetry coupled ocean–ice sector model of the Atlantic Ocean. The model simulations are conducted at eddy-permitting resolution where dense shelf water production dominates over open ocean convection in forming AABW. Freshwater and heat flux perturbations are applied independently and have contradictory surface responses, with increased upper-ocean temperature and reduced ice formation under heating and the opposite under increased freshwater fluxes. AABW transport into the abyssal ocean reduces under both flux changes, with the reduction in transport being proportional to the net buoyancy flux anomaly south of 60°S.

Through inclusion of shelf-sourced AABW, a process absent from most current generation climate models, cooling and freshening of dense source water is facilitated via reduced on-shelf/off-shelf exchange flow. Such cooling is propagated to the abyssal ocean, while compensating warming in the deep ocean under heating introduces a decadal-scale variability of the abyssal water masses. This study emphasizes the fundamental role buoyancy plays in controlling AABW, as well as the importance of the inclusion of shelf-sourced AABW within climate models in order to attain the complete spectrum of possible climate change responses.

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David P. Schneider, Clara Deser, and Tingting Fan

Abstract

Westerly wind trends at 850 hPa over the Southern Ocean during 1979–2011 exhibit strong regional and seasonal asymmetries. On an annual basis, trends in the Pacific sector (40°–60°S, 70°–160°W) are 3 times larger than zonal-mean trends related to the increase in the southern annular mode (SAM). Seasonally, the SAM-related trend is largest in austral summer, and many studies have linked this trend with stratospheric ozone depletion. In contrast, the Pacific sector trends are largest in austral autumn. It is proposed that these asymmetries can be explained by a combination of tropical teleconnections and polar ozone depletion. Six ensembles of transient atmospheric model experiments, each forced with different combinations of time-dependent radiative forcings and SSTs, support this idea. In summer, the model simulates a positive SAM-like pattern, to which ozone depletion and tropical SSTs (which contain signatures of internal variability and warming from greenhouse gasses) contribute. In autumn, the ensemble-mean response consists of stronger westerlies over the Pacific sector, explained by a Rossby wave originating from the central equatorial Pacific. While these responses resemble observations, attribution is complicated by intrinsic atmospheric variability. In the experiments forced only with tropical SSTs, individual ensemble members exhibit wind trend patterns that mimic the forced response to ozone. When the analysis presented herein is applied to 1960–2000, the primary period of ozone loss, ozone depletion largely explains the model’s SAM-like zonal wind trend. The time-varying importance of these different drivers has implications for relating the historical experiments of free-running, coupled models to observations.

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Jin-Yi Yu, Houk Paek, Eric S. Saltzman, and Tong Lee

Abstract

This study uncovers an early 1990s change in the relationships between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and two leading modes of the Southern Hemisphere (SH) atmospheric variability: the southern annular mode (SAM) and the Pacific–South American (PSA) pattern. During austral spring, while the PSA maintained a strong correlation with ENSO throughout the period 1948–2014, the SAM–ENSO correlation changed from being weak before the early 1990s to being strong afterward. Through the ENSO connection, PSA and SAM became more in-phase correlated after the early 1990s. The early 1990s is also the time when ENSO changed from being dominated by the eastern Pacific (EP) type to being dominated by the central Pacific (CP) type. Analyses show that, while the EP ENSO can excite only the PSA, the CP ENSO can excite both the SAM and PSA through tropospheric and stratospheric pathway mechanisms. The more in-phase relationship between SAM and PSA impacted the post-1990s Antarctic climate in at least two aspects: 1) a stronger Antarctic sea ice dipole structure around the Amundsen–Bellingshausen Seas due to intensified geopotential height anomalies over the region and 2) a shift in the phase relationships of surface air temperature anomalies among East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula. These findings imply that ENSO–Antarctic climate relations depend on the dominant ENSO type and that ENSO forcing has become more important to the Antarctic sea ice and surface air temperature variability in the past two decades and will in the coming decades if the dominance of CP ENSO persists.

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Ryan L. Fogt and Alex J. Wovrosh

Abstract

Recent studies suggest that warming trends across West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula and sea ice loss in the adjacent Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas are linked to changes in the regional atmospheric circulation, represented by the Amundsen Sea low (ASL). Importantly, changes in the ASL have similarly been tied to forcing from the tropics. Here, several model simulations from the Community Atmosphere Model, version 4, are investigated in order to understand the relative roles of tropical sea surface temperature variability and radiative forcing on the variations in trends in the ASL. In comparing across the simulations, it is observed that the addition of time-varying extratropical SSTs and sea ice conditions in general have a much smaller impact on the ASL than tropical SSTs or radiative forcing. Tropical forcing alone explains much of the climatological variability and extreme intensities of the ASL (both strong and weak relative central pressures). The role of radiative forcing is best observed in the ASL trends, with this simulation leading to a marked deepening of the ASL and pressures across the Southern Hemisphere that is consistent with atmospheric reanalysis in austral summer. In austral winter, the simulation with radiative forcing produces stronger trends than observed in reanalysis data, perhaps reflecting the need to couple to an ocean–ice model in order to more realistically simulate the ASL changes. Together, the results suggest that models need to include both the effects from tropical SST variations and radiative forcing when understanding historic and future variations in the ASL.

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Changhyun Yoo, Sungsu Park, Daehyun Kim, Jin-Ho Yoon, and Hye-Mi Kim

Abstract

The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), the dominant mode of tropical intraseasonal variability, influences weather and climate in the extratropics through atmospheric teleconnection. In this study, two simulations using the Community Atmosphere Model version 5 (CAM5)—one with the default shallow and deep convection schemes and the other with the unified convection scheme (UNICON)—are employed to examine the impacts of cumulus parameterizations on the simulation of the boreal wintertime MJO teleconnection in the Northern Hemisphere. It is demonstrated that the UNICON substantially improves the MJO teleconnection. When the UNICON is employed, the simulated circulation anomalies associated with the MJO better resemble the observed counterpart, compared to the simulation with the default convection schemes. Quantitatively, the pattern correlation for the 300-hPa geopotential height anomalies between the simulations and observation increases from 0.07 for the default schemes to 0.54 for the UNICON. These circulation anomalies associated with the MJO further help to enhance the surface air temperature and precipitation anomalies over North America, although room for improvement is still evident. Initial value calculations suggest that the realistic MJO teleconnection with the UNICON is not due to the changes in the background wind, but rather primarily to the improved tropical convective heating associated with the MJO.

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Xichen Li, David M. Holland, Edwin P. Gerber, and Changhyun Yoo

Abstract

Recent studies link climate change around Antarctica to the sea surface temperature of tropical oceans, with teleconnections from the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans making different contributions to Antarctic climate. In this study, the impacts of each ocean basin on the wintertime Southern Hemisphere circulation are identified by comparing simulation results using a comprehensive atmospheric model, an idealized dynamical core model, and a theoretical Rossby wave model. The results herein show that tropical Atlantic Ocean warming, Indian Ocean warming, and eastern Pacific cooling are all able to deepen the Amundsen Sea low located adjacent to West Antarctica, while western Pacific warming increases the pressure to the west of the international date line, encompassing the Ross Sea and regions south of the Tasman Sea. In austral winter, these tropical ocean basins work together linearly to modulate the atmospheric circulation around West Antarctica. Further analyses indicate that these teleconnections critically depend on stationary Rossby wave dynamics and are thus sensitive to the background flow, particularly the subtropical/midlatitude jet. Near these jets, wind shear is amplified, which strengthens the generation of Rossby waves. On the other hand, near the edges of the jets the meridional gradient of the absolute vorticity is also enhanced. As a consequence of the Rossby wave dispersion relationship, the jet edge may reflect stationary Rossby wave trains, serving as a waveguide. The simulation results not only identify the relative roles of each of the tropical ocean basins in the tropical–Antarctica teleconnection, but also suggest that a deeper understanding of teleconnections requires a better estimation of the atmospheric jet structures.

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Kyle R. Clem and James A. Renwick

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Significant austral spring trends have previously been observed in West Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula temperatures and in atmospheric circulation across the southern Pacific and Atlantic. Here, physical mechanisms for the observed trends are investigated through analysis of monthly circulation and temperatures from the ERA-Interim dataset and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) data. The negative pressure trend over the South Pacific during spring is strongest in September, while the positive pressure trend over the South Atlantic is strongest in October. Pressure trends in November are generally nonsignificant. The authors demonstrate that a significant September trend toward increased convection (reduced OLR) in the poleward portion of the South Pacific convergence zone (SPCZ) is statistically related to Rossby wave–like circulation changes across the southern oceans. The wave response is strongest over the South Pacific in September and propagates eastward to the South Atlantic in October. OLR-related changes are linearly congruent with around half of the observed total changes in circulation during September and October and are consistent with observed trends in South Pacific sea ice concentration and surface temperature over western West Antarctica and the western Antarctic Peninsula. These results suggest SPCZ variability in early spring, especially on the poleward side of the SPCZ, is an important contributor to circulation and surface temperature trends across the South Pacific/Atlantic and West Antarctica.

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Bradford S. Barrett, Gina R. Henderson, and Joshua S. Werling

Abstract

Intraseasonal variability in springtime Northern Hemisphere daily snow depth change (ΔSD) by phase of the MJO was explored in this study. Principal findings of the relationship between ΔSD and the MJO included the following: 1) Statistically significant regions of lagged ΔSD anomalies for multiple phases of the MJO were found in March, April, and May in both North America and Eurasia. 2) In each month, lagged ΔSD anomalies were physically supported by corresponding lagged anomalies of 500-hPa height (Z500) and surface air temperature (SAT). Spearman rank correlation coefficients indicated a moderate to strong relationship between both Z500 and ΔSD and SAT and ΔSD in both Eurasia and North America for phases 5 and 7 in March. In April, a moderately strong relationship between Z500 and ΔSD was found over Eurasia for phase 5, but the relationship between SAT and ΔSD was weak. In May, correlations between ΔSD and both Z500 and SAT over a hemisphere-wide latitude band from 60° to 75°N were close to −0.5 and −0.4, respectively. Given the strength of these statistical relationships, the following physical pathway is proposed for intraseasonal variability of spring snow depth changes: poleward-propagating Rossby waves in response to tropical MJO convection interact with Northern Hemisphere background flow, leading to anomalous troughing and ridging. These anomalous circulation centers then impact daily snow depth change via precipitation processes and anomalies in surface air temperature.

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Hyo-Seok Park, Sukyoung Lee, Seok-Woo Son, Steven B. Feldstein, and Yu Kosaka

Abstract

The surface warming in recent decades has been most rapid in the Arctic, especially during the winter. Here, by utilizing global reanalysis and satellite datasets, it is shown that the northward flux of moisture into the Arctic during the winter strengthens the downward infrared radiation (IR) by 30–40 W m−2 over 1–2 weeks. This is followed by a decline of up to 10% in sea ice concentration over the Greenland, Barents, and Kara Seas. A climate model simulation indicates that the wind-induced sea ice drift leads the decline of sea ice thickness during the early stage of the strong downward IR events, but that within one week the cumulative downward IR effect appears to be dominant. Further analysis indicates that strong downward IR events are preceded several days earlier by enhanced convection over the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans. This finding suggests that sea ice predictions can benefit from an improved understanding of tropical convection and ensuing planetary wave dynamics.

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