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Casey R. Patrizio
,
Panos J. Athanasiadis
,
Claude Frankignoul
,
Doroteaciro Iovino
,
Simona Masina
,
Luca Famooss Paolini
, and
Silvio Gualdi

Abstract

North Atlantic atmosphere–ocean variability is assessed in climate model simulations from HighResMIP that have low resolution (LR) or high resolution (HR) in their atmosphere and ocean model components. It is found that some of the LR simulations overestimate the low-frequency variability of subpolar sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and underestimate its correlation with the NAO compared to ERA5. These deficiencies are significantly reduced in the HR simulations, and it is shown that the improvements are related to a reduction of intrinsic (non-NAO-driven) variability of the subpolar ocean circulation. To understand the cause of the overestimated intrinsic subpolar ocean variability in the LR simulations, a link is demonstrated between the amplitude of the subpolar ocean variability and the mean state of the Labrador–Irminger Seas. Supporting previous studies, the Labrador–Irminger Seas tend to be colder and fresher in the LR simulations compared to the HR simulations and oceanic observations from EN4. This promotes upper-ocean density anomalies in this region to be more salinity-controlled in the LR simulations versus more temperature-controlled in the HR simulations and EN4 observations. It is argued that this causes the excessive subpolar ocean variability in the LR simulations by favoring a positive feedback between subpolar upper-ocean salinity and Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) anomalies, rather than a negative feedback between subpolar SST and AMOC anomalies as in the HR simulations. The findings overall suggest that the subpolar ocean mean state impacts the variability of the ocean circulation and SSTs, including their relationship with the atmospheric circulation, in the extratropical North Atlantic.

Open access
Yishuai Jin
,
Xing Meng
,
Li Zhang
,
Yingying Zhao
,
Wenju Cai
, and
Lixin Wu

Abstract

Prediction of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is hindered by a spring predictability barrier (SPB). In this paper, we investigate the effects of the Indian Ocean (IO) on the SPB. Using a seasonally varying extended IO–ENSO recharge oscillator model, we find that the SPB is much weakened when IO is coupled with ENSO. To gauge the relative role of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) and the Indian Ocean Basin (IOB) modes in weakening ENSO SPB, we develop an empirical dynamical model, the linear inverse model (LIM). By coupling/decoupling the IOB or IOD mode with ENSO, we show that the IOB significantly weakens eastern Pacific and central Pacific ENSO SPBs, while the IOD plays a weaker role. The evolution of the optimum initial structures also illustrates the importance of the IOB in ENSO SPB. Moreover, the IOB strongly influences the forecast skill of La Niña SPB rather than El Niño SPB. This point is also identified through six coupled models from the North American multimodel ensemble. It may be related to the role of the IO in the asymmetry in the duration of El Niño and La Niña. The IOB-induced easterly wind anomalies are conducive to the development of La Niña and thus the prediction of La Niña events, whereas these anomalous easterlies are less important during the development of El Niño and the related forecast of El Niño events.

Open access
Chanwoo Song
,
Sungsu Park
,
Siyun Kim
, and
Juwon Kim

Abstract

To understand the intensification process of tropical cyclones (TCs), we analyzed the relationship between the TC intensification rate (I) and environmental variables along TC tracks during the time from TC genesis (tG ) to maximum TC strength (tX ), hereinafter τ GXtX tG , using a state-of-the-art general circulation model (GCM), observed TC tracks, and ERA5 data. During τ GX, strong TCs with high I (sTCs) consume more convective available potential energy (CAPE) than weak TCs with low I (wTCs) and bring more CAPE from the equator to sustain sTCs. Compared to wTCs, sTCs prefer an unstable atmosphere with higher sea surface temperature (SST), stronger grid-mean upward flow at 500 hPa (ω 500), more moisture convergence (MC), and weaker wind shear (Vs ). Our GCM simulation shows that MC and CAPE have a single regression slope with I applicable both within and across climate regimes. Using machine learning, we found that the best combination of environmental variables (V6) for predicting I consists of ω 500, MC, SST, midtropospheric stability (MTS), Vs , and latitude (|f|). Machine learning with V6 reproduces well the spatial distribution and interclimate changes of I: TCs are intensified in regions of stronger upward ω 500, more MC, warmer SST, weaker MTS, smaller Vs , and larger |f|; TCs in a warmer climate have higher I than TCs in a colder climate due to more MC, warmer SST, but stronger MTS. These results are consistent with the conceptual understanding that TCs are intensified by the release of latent heat.

Open access
Yihan Zhang
,
Yunqi Kong
,
Song Yang
, and
Xiaoming Hu

Abstract

Under the background of global warming, the Arctic region has warmed faster than the Antarctic, which is referred to as asymmetric Arctic and Antarctic warming. The new generation of model simulations from the CMIP6 offers an opportunity to identify the major factors contributing to the asymmetric warming and its intermodel spread. In this study, the preindustrial and abrupt-4 × CO2 experiments from 18 CMIP6 models are examined to extract the asymmetric warming and its intermodel spread. A climate feedback-response analysis method is applied to reveal the contributions of external and internal feedback processes to the asymmetric warming and its intermodel spread, by decomposing total warming into the partial temperature changes caused by individual factors. It is found that a seasonal energy transfer mechanism (SETM) dominates in both polar warmings. The direct consequence of the sea ice declining in response to the anthropogenic forcing is an increase in the effective heat capacity of the ocean surface layer. Such an increase in the effective heat capacity temporally withholds most of the extra solar energy absorbed during summer and then releases it during winter, contributing to stronger warming in winter. However, the background oceanic circulation in the Southern Ocean, namely, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, continually transports energy equatorward, resulting in a suppressed SETM and surface warming in the Antarctic. The key factor that accounts for intermodel spread in the asymmetric warming is the difference in their strengths of SETM. The poleward atmospheric transport and water vapor feedback also contribute to the intermodel spread.

Significance Statement

The asymmetric Arctic and Antarctic warming, as a response to the increase in CO2, can regulate global atmospheric and oceanic circulations via meridional temperature gradient. Previous studies have all ascribed the key role of the ocean in the asymmetric warming over the two poles with a lack of comprehensive understanding of the roles of other feedback processes. This study emphasizes that oceanic circulation is the root of the asymmetric warming via suppressing sea ice retreat and the associated SETM in the Antarctic, instead of increasing ocean heat uptake and equatorward transport only. For the intermodel spread in the asymmetric warming over two poles, the differences in the strength of all processes involving the SETM among models are the prominent issue.

Open access
Ryohei Yamaguchi
,
Ji-Eun Kim
,
Keith B. Rodgers
,
Karl Stein
,
Axel Timmermann
,
Sun-Seon Lee
,
Lei Huang
,
Malte F. Stuecker
,
John T. Fasullo
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Clara Deser
,
Jean-Francois Lamarque
,
Nan A. Rosenbloom
, and
Jim Edwards

Abstract

Biomass burning aerosol (BBA) emissions in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) historical forcing fields have enhanced temporal variability during the years 1997–2014 compared to earlier periods. Recent studies document that the corresponding inhomogeneous shortwave forcing over this period can cause changes in clouds, permafrost, and soil moisture, which contribute to a net terrestrial Northern Hemisphere warming relative to earlier periods. Here, we investigate the ocean response to the hemispherically asymmetric warming, using a 100-member ensemble of the Community Earth System Model version 2 Large Ensemble forced by two different BBA emissions (CMIP6 default and temporally smoothed over 1990–2020). Differences between the two subensemble means show that ocean temperature anomalies occur during periods of high BBA variability and subsequently persist over multiple decades. In the North Atlantic, surface warming is efficiently compensated for by decreased northward oceanic heat transport due to a slowdown of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. In the North Pacific, surface warming is compensated for by an anomalous cross-equatorial cell (CEC) that reduces northward oceanic heat transport. The heat that converges in the South Pacific through the anomalous CEC is shunted into the subsurface and contributes to formation of long-lasting ocean temperature anomalies. The anomalous CEC is maintained through latitude-dependent contributions from narrow western boundary currents and basinwide near-surface Ekman transport. These results indicate that interannual variability in forcing fields may significantly change the background climate state over long time scales, presenting a potential uncertainty in CMIP6-class climate projections forced without interannual variability.

Open access
Miku Amano
,
Yoshihiro Tachibana
, and
Yuta Ando

Abstract

Does a warming world, where extremely hot summers are becoming more common, mean that cold summers will never again occur? It is crucial to know whether extremely cold summers are still possible, as such knowledge will significantly impact decisions regarding the further adaptation of crops to cold summers. Japan, which has suffered from many extremely cold summers, has managed past agricultural disruptions with emergency rice imports. In this paper, we show that a climate regime shift associated with the positive phase shift of the summer Arctic Oscillation occurred in 2010 in northeast Eurasia, making the occurrence of extremely cold summers highly unlikely as long as this new regime persists. In fact, Japan has not experienced a cold summer since 2010, while extremely hot summers have been frequent. Since 2010, a double-jet structure with subtropical and polar jets has strengthened, and the polar jet has meandered farther north of Japan, resulting in an upper-tropospheric anticyclone. This anticyclone, which extends downward and tilts southward, reaches southern Japan and prevents cold advection of oceanic air over the cold Oyashio. The Okhotsk high, known as the leading cause of cold summers, has occurred frequently in recent years; however, cold summers have not occurred due to the tilting anticyclone. The recent warming of the Oyashio weakens cold advection. The Pacific–Japan pattern, known as a remote tropical influence, has been weakened. A better understanding of the regime shift will help us understand the tilting anticyclone and the associated extreme summers in northeast Eurasia.

Significance Statement

Extremely cold summers are among the most destructive natural disasters, both socioeconomically and agriculturally. Historically, food shortages due to cold summers have triggered wars. This paper proposes that a hemispheric-scale climate regime shift occurred in or around 2010. This regime shift has included warmings in the North Pacific and East Eurasian land surface temperatures. The regime shift is accompanied by the positive shift of the Arctic Oscillation (AO), a jet meander, and an upper-tropospheric anticyclone, making eastern Eurasia extremely hot. Our results imply that extremely cold summers are unlikely to occur in eastern Eurasia so long as this regime persists. Moving forward, it is important that the link between this regime shift and global warming be explored.

Open access
Benoit Meyssignac
,
Robin Guillaume-Castel
, and
Rémy Roca

Abstract

Climate feedbacks are sensitive to the geographical distribution of sea surface temperature (SST). This sensitivity, called the pattern effect, affects the amplitude of the Earth radiative response to anomalies in global mean surface temperature (GMST) and thus is essential in shaping the global energy budget dynamics. Zero-dimensional energy balance models (EBMs) are the simplest representation of the global energy budget dynamics. Many only depend on GMST anomalies and cannot account for the pattern effect explicitly. In EBMs, the pattern effect leads to apparent variations of the global climate feedback parameter λ. Assuming a variable λ in EBMs enables them to more accurately reproduce AOGCM simulations of the GMST anomalies but it leads to variations in λ of >+15%. These large variations mean λ is not a constant and the Taylor expansion underpinning EBMs’ formulation does not hold, casting doubts on the physical grounding of such EBMs. Here we propose a new EBM based on a multivariate linear Earth radiative response, which depends on both the GMST and the surface warming pattern. The resulting multilinear EBM accurately reproduces AOGCM simulations of anomalies in Earth radiative response and GMST under abrupt 4xCO2 forcing. When interpreted in terms of variable λ, the multivariate EBM leads to small variations in λ that are physically consistent with the underpinning Taylor expansion. We analyze with the multivariate framework the variations of the planetary heat uptake N as a function of the GMST and the pattern of warming through a 3D generalization of the Gregory plot. We show that the apparent nonlinear behavior of the radiative response of the Earth against GMST seen in classical monovariate EBMs (and in classical Gregory plots) can actually be explained by a bilinear dependance of the radiative response of the Earth on the GMST and the pattern of warming. The multivariate EBM further provides an explicit dependence of the global energy budget on the pattern of warming and on the climate state. It has important consequences on the expression of the climate sensitivity.

Open access
Chiung-Yin Chang
and
Timothy M. Merlis

Abstract

Atmospheric macroturbulence transports energy down the equator-to-pole gradient. This is represented by diffusion in energy balance models (EBMs), and EBMs have proven valuable for understanding and quantifying the pattern of surface temperature change. They typically assume climate-state-independent diffusivity, chosen to well represent the current climate, and find that this is sufficient to emulate warming response in general circulation models (GCMs). Meanwhile, model diagnoses of GCM simulations have shown that the diffusivity changes with climate. There is also ongoing development for diffusivity theories based on atmospheric dynamics. Here, we examine the role that changes in diffusivity play in the large-scale equator-to-pole contrast in surface warming in EBMs, building on previous analytic EBM theories for polar-amplified warming. New analytic theories for two formulations of climate-state-dependent diffusivity capture the results of numerical EBM solutions. For reasonable choices of parameter values, the success of the new analytic theories reveals why the change of diffusivity is limited in response to radiative forcing and does not eliminate polar-amplified warming.

Open access
Xiaolan L. Wang
,
Yang Feng
,
Vincent Y. S. Cheng
, and
Hong Xu

Abstract

This study first developed a comprehensive semiautomatic data homogenization procedure to produce gap-infilled and homogenized monthly precipitation data series for 425 long-term/critical stations in Canada, which were then used to assess Canadian historical precipitation trends. Data gaps in the 425 series were infilled by advanced spatial interpolation of a much larger dataset. The homogenization procedure repeatedly used multiple homogeneity tests without and with reference series to identify changepoints/inhomogeneities, the results from which were finalized by manual analysis using metadata and visual inspection of the multiphase regression fits. As a result, 298 out of the 425 data series were found to be inhomogeneous. These series were homogenized using quantile matching adjustments. The homogenized dataset shows better spatial consistency of trends than does the raw dataset. The improved gridding and regional mean trend estimation methods also provide more realistic trend estimates. With these improvements, Canadian historical precipitation trends were found to be dominantly positive and significant, except in central-south Canada where the trends are generally insignificant and small with mixed directions. For annual precipitation, the largest increases are seen in southeastern Canada and along the Pacific coast; however, the largest relative increases (in percent of the 1961–90 mean) are seen in northern Canada. The largest trend difference between northern and southern Canada is seen in winter, in which significant increases in the north were matched with significant decreases in the south.

Significance Statement

This study aims to produce a homogenized long-term monthly precipitation dataset for Canada, which is then used to assess Canadian historical precipitation trends. The work is important because it developed a comprehensive algorithm for homogenization of precipitation data, and the results provide better representation of precipitation climate and more robust estimates of precipitation trends. It also identified the causes for large biases in the published estimates of precipitation trends over Canada.

Open access
Julia Mindlin
,
Carolina S. Vera
,
Theodore G. Shepherd
, and
Marisol Osman

Abstract

Summer rainfall trends in southeastern South America (SE-SA) have received attention in recent decades because of their importance for climate impacts. More than one driving mechanism has been identified for the trends, some of which have opposing effects. It is still not clear how much each mechanism has contributed to the observed trends or how their combined influence will affect future changes. Here, we address the second question and study how the CMIP6 summer SE-SA rainfall response to greenhouse warming can be explained by mechanisms related to large-scale extratropical circulation responses in the Southern Hemisphere to remote drivers (RDs) of regional climate change. We find that the regional uncertainty is well represented by combining the influence of four RDs: tropical upper-tropospheric amplification of surface warming, the delay in the stratospheric polar vortex breakdown date, and two RDs characterizing recognized tropical Pacific SST warming patterns. Applying a storyline framework, we identify the combination of RD responses that lead to the most extreme drying and wetting scenarios. Although most scenarios involve wetting, SE-SA drying can result if high upper-tropospheric tropical warming and early stratospheric polar vortex breakdown conditions are combined with low central and eastern Pacific warming. We also show how the definition of the SE-SA regional box can impact the results since the spatial patterns characterizing the dynamical influences are complex and the rainfall changes can be averaged out if these are not considered when aggregating. This article’s perspective and the associated methodology are applicable to other regions of the globe.

Significance Statement

Summer rainfall in southeastern South America (SE-SA) affects an area where around 200 million people live. The observed trends suggest long-term wetting, and most climate models predict a wetting response to greenhouse warming. However, in this work, we find that there is a physically plausible combination of large-scale circulation changes that can promote drying, which means SE-SA drying is a possibility that cannot be ignored. We also show that the definition of the SE-SA regional box can impact regional rainfall analysis since the spatial patterns characterizing the dynamical influences are complex and the changes can be averaged out if these are not considered when aggregating. This perspective and the associated methodology are applicable to other regions of the globe.

Open access