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Joe M. Osborne
,
James A. Screen
, and
Mat Collins

Abstract

The Arctic is warming faster than the global average. This disproportionate warming—known as Arctic amplification—has caused significant local changes to the Arctic system and more uncertain remote changes across the Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. Here, an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) is used to test the sensitivity of the atmospheric and surface response to Arctic sea ice loss to the phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO), which varies on (multi-) decadal time scales. Four experiments are performed, combining low and high sea ice states with global sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies associated with opposite phases of the AMO. A trough–ridge–trough response to wintertime sea ice loss is seen in the Pacific–North American sector in the negative phase of the AMO. The authors propose that this is a consequence of an increased meridional temperature gradient in response to sea ice loss, just south of the climatological maximum, in the midlatitudes of the central North Pacific. This causes a southward shift in the North Pacific storm track, which strengthens the Aleutian low with circulation anomalies propagating into North America. While the climate response to sea ice loss is sensitive to AMO-related SST anomalies in the North Pacific, there is little sensitivity to larger-magnitude SST anomalies in the North Atlantic. With background ocean–atmosphere states persisting for a number of years, there is the potential to improve predictions of the impacts of Arctic sea ice loss on decadal time scales.

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Joe M. Osborne
,
Mat Collins
,
James A. Screen
,
Stephen I. Thomson
, and
Nick Dunstone

Abstract

Skill in seasonal forecasts in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics is mostly limited to winter. Drivers of summer circulation anomalies over the North Atlantic–European (NAE) sector are poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of North Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in driving summer atmospheric circulation changes. The summer North Atlantic Oscillation (SNAO), the leading mode of observed summer atmospheric circulation variability in the NAE sector, is correlated with a distinct SST tripole pattern in the North Atlantic. An atmospheric general circulation model is used to test whether there are robust atmospheric circulation responses over the NAE sector to concurrent SSTs related to the SNAO. The most robust responses project onto the summer east Atlantic (SEA) pattern, the second dominant mode of observed summer atmospheric circulation variability in the NAE sector, and are most evident at the surface in response to tropical SSTs and at altitude in response to extratropical SSTs. The tropical-to-extratropical teleconnection appears to be due to Rossby wave propagation from SST anomalies, and in turn precipitation anomalies, in the Caribbean region. We identify key biases in the model, which may be responsible for the overly dominant SEA pattern variability, compared to the SNAO, and may also explain why the responses resemble the SEA pattern, rather than the SNAO. Efforts to eradicate these biases, perhaps achieved by higher-resolution simulations or with improved model physics, would allow for an improved understanding of the true response to North Atlantic SST patterns.

Free access
Y. T. Eunice Lo
,
Daniel M. Mitchell
,
Sylvia I. Bohnenstengel
,
Mat Collins
,
Ed Hawkins
,
Gabriele C. Hegerl
,
Manoj Joshi
, and
Peter A. Stott

Abstract

In the United Kingdom, where 90% of residents are projected to live in urban areas by 2050, projecting changes in urban heat islands (UHIs) is essential to municipal adaptation. Increased summer temperatures are linked to increased mortality. Using the new regional U.K. Climate Projections, UKCP18-regional, we estimate the 1981–2079 trends in summer urban and rural near-surface air temperatures and in UHI intensities during day and at night in the 10 most populous built-up areas in England. Summer temperatures increase by 0.45°–0.81°C per decade under RCP8.5, depending on the time of day and location. Nighttime temperatures increase more in urban than rural areas, enhancing the nighttime UHI by 0.01°–0.05°C per decade in all cities. When these upward UHI signals emerge from 2008–18 variability, positive summer nighttime UHI intensities of up to 1.8°C are projected in most cities. However, we can prevent most of these upward nighttime UHI signals from emerging by stabilizing climate to the Paris Agreement target of 2°C above preindustrial levels. In contrast, daytime UHI intensities decrease in nine cities, at rates between −0.004° and −0.05°C per decade, indicating a trend toward a reduced daytime UHI effect. These changes reflect different feedbacks over urban and rural areas and are specific to UKCP18-regional. Future research is important to better understand the drivers of these UHI intensity changes.

Free access
Eric Guilyardi
,
Andrew Wittenberg
,
Alexey Fedorov
,
Mat Collins
,
Chunzai Wang
,
Antonietta Capotondi
,
Geert Jan van Oldenborgh
, and
Tim Stockdale

Determining how El Niño and its impacts may change over the next 10 to 100 years remains a difficult scientific challenge. Ocean-atmosphere coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) are routinely used both to analyze El Niño mechanisms and teleconnections and to predict its evolution on a broad range of time scales, from seasonal to centennial. The ability to simulate El Niño as an emergent property of these models has largely improved over the last few years. Nevertheless, the diversity of model simulations of present-day El Niño indicates current limitations in our ability to model this climate phenomenon and to anticipate changes in its characteristics. A review of the several factors that contribute to this diversity, as well as potential means to improve the simulation of El Niño, is presented.

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Eric Guilyardi
,
Wenju Cai
,
Mat Collins
,
Alexey Fedorov
,
Fei-Fei Jin
,
Arun Kumar
,
De-Zheng Sun
, and
Andrew Wittenberg

No abstract available.

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