Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 11,670 items for :

  • Journal of Climate x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All
R. J. Small
,
J. Kurian
,
P. Chang
,
G. Xu
,
H. Tsujino
,
S. Yeager
,
G. Danabasoglu
,
W. M. Kim
,
A. Altuntas
, and
F. Castruccio

Abstract

In this paper we summarize improvements in climate model simulation of eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS) when changing the forcing dataset from the Coordinated Ocean-Ice Reference Experiments (CORE; ∼2° winds) to the higher-resolution Japanese 55-year Atmospheric Reanalysis for driving ocean–sea ice models (JRA55-do, ∼0.5°) and also due to refining ocean grid spacing from 1° to 0.1°. The focus is on sea surface temperature (SST), a key variable for climate studies, and which is typically too warm in climate model representation of EBUS. The change in forcing leads to a better-defined atmospheric low-level coastal jet, leading to more equatorward ocean flow and coastal upwelling, both in turn acting to reduce SST over the upwelling regions off the west coast of North America, Peru, and Chile. The refinement of ocean resolution then leads to narrower and stronger alongshore ocean flow and coastal upwelling, and the emergence of strong across-shore temperature gradients not seen with the coarse ocean model. Off northwest Africa the SST bias mainly improves with ocean resolution but not with forcing, while in the Benguela, JRA55-do with high-resolution ocean leads to lower SST but a substantial bias relative to observations remains. Reasons for the Benguela bias are discussed in the context of companion regional ocean model simulations. Finally, we address to what extent improvements in mean state lead to changes to the monthly to interannual variability. It is found that large-scale SST variability in EBUS on monthly and longer time scales is largely governed by teleconnections from climate modes and less sensitive to model resolution and forcing than the mean state.

Restricted access
Takeshi Izumo
,
Maxime Colin
,
Fei-Fei Jin
, and
Bastien Pagli

Abstract

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the leading mode of climate interannual variability, with large socioeconomical and environmental impacts, potentially increasing with climate change. Improving its understanding may shed further light on its predictability. Here we revisit the two main conceptual models for explaining ENSO cyclic nature, namely, the recharge oscillator (RO) and the advective–reflective delayed oscillator (DO). Some previous studies have argued that these two models capture similar physical processes. Yet, we show here that they actually capture two distinct roles of ocean wave dynamics in ENSO’s temperature tendency equation, using observations, reanalyses, and Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) models. The slow recharge/discharge process mostly influences central-eastern Pacific by favoring warmer equatorial undercurrent and equatorial upwelling, while the 6-month delayed advective–reflective feedback process dominates in the western-central Pacific. We thus propose a hybrid recharge delayed oscillator (RDO) that combines these two distinct processes into one conceptual model, more realistic than the RO or DO alone. The RDO eigenvalues (frequency and growth rate) are highly sensitive to the relative strengths of the recharge/discharge and delayed negative feedbacks, which have distinct dependencies to mean state. Combining these two feedbacks explains most of ENSO frequency diversity among models. Thanks to the two different spatial patterns involved, the RDO can even capture ENSO spatiotemporal diversity and complexity. We also develop a fully nonlinear and seasonal RDO, even more robust and realistic, investigating each nonlinear term. The great RDO sensitivity may explain the observed and simulated richness in ENSO’s characteristics and predictability.

Significance Statement

El Niño and La Niña events, and the related Southern Oscillation, cause the largest year-to-year variations of Earth’s climate. Yet the theories behind them are still debated, with two main conceptual models being the recharge oscillator and the delayed oscillator. Our purpose here is to address this debate by developing a more realistic theory, a hybrid recharge delayed oscillator. We show how simple yet realistic it is, with equivalent contributions from the slow recharge process and from the faster delayed feedback. It even captures the observed El Niño and La Niña diversity in space and in frequency. Future studies could use the simple theoretical framework provided here to investigate El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in observations, theories, climate models diagnostics and forecasts, and global warming projections.

Restricted access
Jun Yin
,
Amilcare Porporato
, and
Lamberto Rondoni

Abstract

While the warming trends of Earth’s mean temperature are evident at climatological scales, the local temperature at shorter time scales are highly fluctuating. Here we show that the probabilities of such fluctuations are characterized by a special symmetry typical of small systems out of equilibrium. Their nearly universal properties are linked to the fluctuation theorem and reveal that the progressive warming is accompanied by growing asymmetry of temperature distributions. These statistics allow us to project the global temperature variability in the near future, in line with predictions from climate models, providing original insight about future extremes.

Open access
Kunpeng Yang
,
Haijun Yang
,
Yang Li
, and
Qiong Zhang

Abstract

Using a CESM1 control simulation, we conduct a follow-up study to advance our earlier theoretical research on the multicentennial oscillation (MCO) of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The modeled AMOC MCO primarily arises from internal oceanic processes in the North Atlantic, potentially representing a North Atlantic Ocean–originated mode of AMOC multicentennial variability (MCV) in reality. Specifically, this AMOC MCO is mainly driven by salinity variation in the subpolar upper North Atlantic, which dominates local density variation. Salinity anomaly in the subpolar upper ocean is enhanced by the well-known positive salinity advection feedback that is realized through anomalous advection in the subtropical to subpolar upper ocean. Meanwhile, mean advection moves salinity anomaly in the subtropical intermediate ocean northward, weakening the subpolar upper salinity anomaly and leading to its phase change. The salinity anomalies have a clear three-dimensional life cycle around the North Atlantic. The mechanism and time scale of the modeled AMOC MCO are consistent with our earlier theoretical studies. In the theoretical model, artificially deactivating either the anomalous or mean advection in the AMOC upper branch prevents it from exhibiting AMOC MCO, underscoring the indispensability of both the anomalous and mean advections in this North Atlantic Ocean–originated AMOC MCO. In our coupled model simulation, the South Atlantic and Southern Oceans do not exhibit variabilities synchronous with the AMOC MCO; the Arctic Ocean’s contribution to the subpolar upper salinity anomaly is much weaker than the North Atlantic. Hence, this North Atlantic Ocean–originated AMOC MCO is distinct from the previously proposed Southern Ocean–originated and Arctic Ocean–originated AMOC MCOs.

Open access
Keno Riechers
,
Georg Gottwald
, and
Niklas Boers

Abstract

Paleoclimate proxies reveal abrupt transitions of the North Atlantic climate during past glacial intervals known as Dansgaard–Oeschger (DO) events. A central feature of DO events is a sudden warming of about 10°C in Greenland marking the beginning relatively mild phases termed interstadials. These exhibit gradual cooling over several hundred to a few thousand years until a final abrupt decline brings the temperatures back to cold stadial levels. As of now, the exact mechanism behind this millennial-scale variability remains inconclusive. Here, we propose an excitable model to explain Dansgaard–Oeschger cycles, where interstadials occur as noise-induced state-space excursions. Our model comprises the mutual multiscale interactions between four dynamical variables representing Arctic atmospheric temperatures, Nordic seas’ temperatures and sea ice cover, and the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The model’s atmosphere–ocean heat flux is moderated by the sea ice, which in turn is subject to large perturbations dynamically generated by fast-evolving intermittent noise. If supercritical, perturbations trigger interstadial-like state-space excursions during which all four model variables undergo qualitative changes that consistently resemble the signature of interstadials in corresponding proxy records. As a physical intermittent process generating the noise, we propose convective events in the ocean or atmospheric blocking events. Our model accurately reproduces the DO cycle shape, return times, and the dependence of the interstadial and stadial durations on the background conditions. In contrast with the prevailing understanding that DO variability is based on bistability in the underlying dynamics, we show that multiscale, monostable excitable dynamics provides a promising alternative to explain millennial-scale climate variability associated with DO events.

Significance Statement

Recent research has highlighted the risk that some Earth system components might undergo abrupt and qualitative change in response to global warming. Proxy records provide evidence for past abrupt climatic changes fundamentally proving the possibility for highly nonlinear state transitions in the climate system. Understanding the dynamics that drove past changes of this kind may help to assess the risk of future tipping events. Here, we propose a new mechanism for the repeated sudden warming events over Greenland that punctuated the last glacial’s climate and reproduce the warmer interstadial intervals drawing on a multiscale, excitable conceptual climate model. Therein, the warmer intervals appear as state-space excursions following stochastic supercritical excitations caused by non-Gaussian noise, which is dynamically generated via fast intermittent dynamics.

Restricted access
YaoKun Li

Abstract

The ENSO phase locking to the annual cycle is investigated by applying a spatiotemporal oscillator (STO) model, in which the annual cycle of the climatological thermocline depth and its associated parameter are introduced. It is easy to derive its analytic solution, which demonstrates a harmonic oscillation of a combined variable. The ENSO phase locking can be theoretically proven by discussing the distribution of the calendar months of the peak time of the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) time series. The calendar months of the peak time can be divided into two parts. The first part can evenly distribute in any a month of a year and hence has no phase locking feature whereas the second part, directly associated with the annual cycle, adds an increment onto the first part to make it move toward the phase of the annual cycle to realize the phase locking feature. This is the physical mechanism of the ENSO phase locking. With observed seasonal variation of the climatological thermocline depth, the Niño-3.4 index time series approach to extreme values in November was calculated with higher probability, reproducing the observed phase locking phenomenon quite well. The maximum probability of the calendar month that the ENSO peak time occurs is directly determined by the phase of the annual cycle and the stronger the annual cycle is, the larger the maximum probability is.

Significance Statement

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events tend to be strongest in the boreal wintertime. This phenomenon is called ENSO phase locking. This study investigates the dynamics of ENSO phase locking to the annual cycle by introducing the annual cycle to a spatiotemporal oscillator (STO) model that can deal with the complex spatial and temporal variations in SSTAs. The analytic solution can be obtained and then the phase locking feature can be theoretically proven and numerically testified. Therefore, the dynamics and the mechanism of ENSO phase locking can be comprehensively understood. It may be beneficial for the community to have a better understanding of this complex phenomenon.

Open access
Po-Chun Chung
and
Nicole Feldl

Abstract

The ice–albedo feedback associated with sea ice loss contributes to polar amplification, while the water vapor feedback contributes to tropical amplification of surface warming. However, these feedbacks are not independent of atmospheric energy transport, raising the possibility of complex interactions that may obscure the drivers of polar amplification, in particular its manifestation across the seasonal cycle. Here, we apply a radiative transfer hierarchy to an idealized aquaplanet global climate model coupled to a thermodynamic sea ice model. The climate responses and radiative feedbacks are decomposed into the contributions from sea ice loss, including both retreat and thinning, and the radiative effect of water vapor changes. We find that summer sea ice retreat causes winter polar amplification through ocean heat uptake and release, and the resulting decrease in dry energy transport weakens the magnitude of warming. Moreover, sea ice thinning is found to suppress summer warming and enhance winter warming, additionally contributing to winter amplification. The water vapor radiative effect produces seasonally symmetric polar warming via offsetting effects: enhanced moisture in the summer hemisphere induces the summer water vapor feedback and simultaneously strengthens the winter latent energy transport in the winter hemisphere by increasing the meridional moisture gradient. These results reveal the importance of changes in atmospheric energy transport induced by sea ice retreat and increased water vapor to seasonal polar amplification, elucidating the interactions among these physical processes.

Restricted access
Daniel E. Amrhein
,
Dafydd Stephenson
, and
LuAnne Thompson

Abstract

This paper describes a framework for identifying dominant atmospheric drivers of ocean variability. The method combines statistics of atmosphere–ocean fluxes with physics from an ocean general circulation model to derive atmospheric patterns optimized to excite variability in a specified ocean quantity of interest. We first derive the method as a weighted principal components analysis and illustrate its capabilities in a toy problem. Next, we apply our analysis to the problem of interannual upper ocean heat content (HC) variability in the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre (SPG) using the adjoint of the MITgcm and atmosphere–ocean fluxes from the ECCOv4-r4 state estimate. An unweighted principal components analysis reveals that North Atlantic heat and momentum fluxes in ECCOv4-r4 have a range of spatiotemporal patterns. By contrast, dynamics-weighted principal components analysis collapses the space of these patterns onto a small subset—principally associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation—that dominates interannual SPG HC variance. By perturbing the ECCOv4-r4 state estimate, we illustrate the pathways along which variability propagates from the atmosphere to the ocean in a nonlinear ocean model. This technique is applicable across a range of problems across Earth system components, including in the absence of a model adjoint.

Significance Statement

While the oceans have absorbed 90% of the excess heat associated with human-forced climate change, the change in the ocean’s heat content is not steady, with peaks and troughs superimposed upon a general increase. These fluctuations come from chaotic changes in the atmosphere and ocean and can be hard to disentangle. We use this case of ocean heat content variability to introduce a new method for determining the patterns of weather and climate in the atmosphere that are most effective at generating fluctuations in the ocean. To do this, we combine the statistics of recent atmospheric activity with output from a state-of-the-art numerical ocean model that reveals physical processes driving changes in ocean quantities including ocean heat content. This approach suggests that the atmospheric patterns that stimulate the most energetic changes in ocean heat content in the northern North Atlantic are not necessarily the most energetic patterns present in the atmosphere. We test our findings by preventing these patterns from affecting the ocean in our numerical model and measure a strong reduction in ocean heat content fluctuations.

Restricted access
Chaim I. Garfinkel
,
Benny Keller
,
Orli Lachmy
,
Ian White
,
Edwin P. Gerber
,
Martin Jucker
, and
Ori Adam

Abstract

While a poleward shift of the near-surface jet and storm track in response to increased greenhouse gases appears to be robust, the magnitude of this change is uncertain and differs across models, and the mechanisms for this change are poorly constrained. An intermediate complexity GCM is used in this study to explore the factors governing the magnitude of the poleward shift and the mechanisms involved. The degree to which parameterized subgrid-scale convection is inhibited has a leading-order effect on the poleward shift, with a simulation with more convection (and less large-scale precipitation) simulating a significantly weaker shift, and eventually no shift at all if convection is strongly preferred over large-scale precipitation. Many of the physical processes proposed to drive the poleward shift are equally active in all simulations (even those with no poleward shift). Hence, we can conclude that these mechanisms are not of leading-order significance for the poleward shift in any of the simulations. The thermodynamic budget, however, provides useful insight into differences in the jet and storm track response among the simulations. It helps identify midlatitude moisture and latent heat release as a crucial differentiator. These results have implications for intermodel spread in the jet, hydrological cycle, and storm track response to increased greenhouse gases in intermodel comparison projects.

Restricted access
Ping Chen
,
Junqiang Yao
,
Weiyi Mao
,
Liyun Ma
,
Jing Chen
,
Tuoliewubieke Dilinuer
, and
Shujuan Li

Abstract

In this study, the interdecadal variations of extreme precipitation in May over southwestern Xinjiang (SWX) and related mechanisms were investigated. The extreme precipitation in May over SWX exhibited a decadal shift in the 1990s (negative phase during 1970–86 and positive phase during 2003–18). The decadal shift corresponded to strengthened moist airflow from the Indian Ocean and an anomalous cyclone over SWX during 2003–18. It is found that the interdecadal change of the wave trains in Eurasia might account for the differences in atmospheric circulation between the above two periods. Further analyses reveal that spring snow cover over Eurasia is closely linked to extreme precipitation over SWX during 2003–18. Increased snow cover in western Europe (WE) from February to March is accompanied by more snowmelt. This resulted in less local snow cover and lower albedo, leading to warm temperatures over WE in May. The changes in temperatures increase the local 1000–500-hPa thickness over WE. These factors provide favorable conditions for the enhancement of the Eurasian wave trains, which significantly influence extreme precipitation over SWX. On the other hand, corresponding to decreased albedo caused by the reduction of snow cover in northern Eurasia (NE) in May, anomalous surface warming occurs over NE. The anomalous warming results in positive geopotential height anomalies that intensify the meridional geopotential height gradient over Eurasia and cause an acceleration of the westerly jet in May. Anomalous upper-level divergence in SWX induced by the enhanced westerly jet provides a favorable dynamical condition for increased extreme precipitation.

Restricted access