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Aaron B. Wilson, David H. Bromwich, and Keith M. Hines

Abstract

Numerical simulations using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model (CAM) are conducted based on tropical forcing of El Niño flavors. Though these events occur on a continuum, two general types are simulated based on sea surface temperature anomalies located in the central (CP) or eastern (EP) tropical Pacific. The goal is to assess whether CAM adequately represents the transient eddy dynamics associated with each of these El Niño flavors under different southern annular mode (SAM) regimes. CAM captures well the wide spatial and temporal variability associated with the SAM but only accurately simulates the impacts on atmospheric circulation in the high southern latitudes when the observed SAM phase is matched by the model. Composites of in-phase (El Niño–SAM−) and out-of-phase (El Niño–SAM+) events confirm a seasonal preference for in-phase (out of phase) events during December–February (DJF) [June–August (JJA)]. Modeled in-phase events for both EP (during DJF) and CP (during JJA) conditions support observations of anomalous equatorward momentum flux on the equatorward side of the eddy-driven jet, shifting this jet equatorward and consistent with the low phase of the SAM. Out-of-phase composites show that the El Niño–associated teleconnection to the high southern latitudes is strongly modulated by the SAM, as a strong eddy-driven jet is well maintained by high-latitude transient eddy convergence despite the tropical forcing. A regional perspective confirms that this interaction takes place primarily over the Pacific Ocean, with high-latitude circulation variability being a product of both tropical and high-latitude forcing.

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Alvaro Avila-Diaz, David H. Bromwich, Aaron B. Wilson, Flavio Justino, and Sheng-Hung Wang

ABSTRACT

Atmospheric reanalyses are a valuable climate-related resource where in situ data are sparse. However, few studies have investigated the skill of reanalyses to represent extreme climate indices over the North American Arctic, where changes have been rapid and indigenous responses to change are critical. This study investigates temperature and precipitation extremes as defined by the Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDI) over a 17-yr period (2000–16) for regional and global reanalyses, namely the Arctic System Reanalysis, version 2 (ASRv2); North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR); European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5 reanalysis; Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2); and Global Meteorological Forcing Dataset for Land Surface Modeling (GMFD). Results indicate that the best performances are demonstrated by ASRv2 and ERA5. Relative to observations, reanalyses show the weakest performance over far northern basins (e.g., the Arctic and Hudson basins) where observing networks are less dense. Observations and reanalyses show consistent warming with decreased frequency and intensity of cold extremes. Cold days, cold nights, frost days, and ice days have decreased dramatically over the last two decades. Warming can be linked to a simultaneous increase in daily precipitation intensity over several basins in the domain. Moreover, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) distinctly influence extreme climate indices. Thus, these findings detail the complexity of how the climate of the Arctic is changing, not just in an average sense, but in extreme events that have significant impacts on people and places.

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Flavio Justino, Aaron B. Wilson, David H. Bromwich, Alvaro Avila, Le-Sheng Bai, and Sheng-Hung Wang

Abstract

Large-scale objectively analyzed gridded products and satellite estimates of sensible (H) and latent (LE) heat fluxes over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere are compared to those derived from the regional Arctic System Reanalysis version 2 (ASRv2) and a selection of current-generation global reanalyses. Differences in H and LE among the reanalyses are strongly linked to the wind speed magnitudes and vegetation cover. Specifically, ASRv2 wind speeds match closely with observations over the northern oceans, leading to an improved representation of H compared to the global reanalyses. Comparison of evaporative fraction shows that the global reanalyses are characterized by a similar H and LE partitioning from April through September, and therefore exhibit weak intraseasonal variability. However, the higher horizontal resolution and weekly modification of the vegetation cover based on satellite data in ASRv2 provides an improved snow–albedo feedback related to changes in the leaf area index. Hence, ASRv2 better captures the small-scale processes associated with day-to-day vegetation feedbacks with particular improvements to the H over land. All of the reanalyses provide realistic dominant hemispheric patterns of H and LE and the locations of maximum and minimum fluxes, but they differ greatly with respect to magnitude. This is especially true for LE over oceanic regions. Therefore, uncertainties in heat fluxes remain that may be alleviated in reanalyses through improved representation of physical processes and enhanced assimilation of observations.

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Aaron B. Wilson, David H. Bromwich, Keith M. Hines, and Sheng-hung Wang

Abstract

Two El Niño flavors have been defined based on whether warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are located in the central or eastern tropical Pacific (CP or EP). This study further characterizes the impacts on atmospheric circulation in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere associated with these types of El Niño events though a series of numerical simulations using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmosphere Model (CAM). Comparing results with the Interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim), CAM simulates well the known changes to blocking over Australia and a southward shift in the subtropical jet stream across the eastern Pacific basin during CP events. More importantly for the high southern latitudes, CAM simulates a westward shift in upper-level divergence in the tropical Pacific, which causes the Pacific–South American stationary wave pattern to shift toward the west across the entire South Pacific. These changes to the Rossby wave source region impact the South Pacific convergence zone and jet streams and weaken the high-latitude blocking that is typically present in the Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas during EP events. Anticyclonic flow becomes established farther west in the south central Pacific, modifying high-latitude heat and momentum fluxes across the South Pacific and South Atlantic associated with the ENSO–Antarctic dipole.

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Stacy E. Porter, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Lonnie G. Thompson, and Aaron B. Wilson

Abstract

Using an assemblage of four ice cores collected around the Pacific basin, one of the first basinwide histories of Pacific climate variability has been created. This ice core–derived index of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) incorporates ice core records from South America, the Himalayas, the Antarctic Peninsula, and northwestern North America. The reconstructed IPO is annually resolved and dates to 1450 CE. The IPO index compares well with observations during the instrumental period and with paleo-proxy assimilated datasets throughout the entire record, which indicates a robust and temporally stationary IPO signal for the last ~550 years. Paleoclimate reconstructions from the tropical Pacific region vary greatly during the Little Ice Age (LIA), although the reconstructed IPO index in this study suggests that the LIA was primarily defined by a weak, negative IPO phase and hence more La Niña–like conditions. Although the mean state of the tropical Pacific Ocean during the LIA remains uncertain, the reconstructed IPO reveals some interesting dynamical relationships with the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). In the current warm period, a positive (negative) IPO coincides with an expansion (contraction) of the seasonal latitudinal range of the ITCZ. This relationship is not stationary, however, and is virtually absent throughout the LIA, suggesting that external forcing, such as that from volcanoes and/or reduced solar irradiance, could be driving either the ITCZ shifts or the climate dominating the ice core sites used in the IPO reconstruction.

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Bradley P. Goodwin, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Aaron B. Wilson, Stacy E. Porter, and M. Roxana Sierra-Hernandez

Abstract

A new ice core drilled in 2010 to bedrock from the Bruce Plateau (BP) on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) provides a high temporal resolution record of environmental conditions in this region. The extremely high annual accumulation rate at this site facilitates analysis of the relationships between annual net accumulation A n on the BP and large-scale atmospheric oscillations. Over the last ~45 years, A n on the BP has been positively correlated with both the southern annular mode (SAM) and Southern Oscillation index (SOI). Extending this analysis back to 1900 reveals that these relationships are not temporally stable, and they exhibit major shifts in the late-1940s and the mid-1970s that are contemporaneous with phase changes in the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). These varying multidecadal characteristics of the A n–oscillation relationships are not apparent when only data from the post-1970s era are employed. Analysis of the longer ice core record reveals that the influence of the SAM on A n depends not only on the phase of the SAM and SOI but also on the phase of the PDO. When the SAM’s influence on BP A n is reduced, such as under negative PDO conditions, BP A n is modulated by variability in the tropical and subtropical atmosphere through its impacts on the strength and position of the circumpolar westerlies in the AP region. These results demonstrate the importance of using longer-term ice core–derived proxy records to test conventional views of atmospheric circulation variability in the AP region.

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