We thank the editor and the two anonymous reviewers for helpful and constructive comments. The author, Wen Na, thanks Prof. Klause Fraedrich and Yu Yongqiang for their useful discussion and kind English editing. This work is supported by 2012CB955200, Chinese NSF 41005048, GYHY200906016, KLME1001, and NUIST Fund 20100317.
Alexander, M. A., I. Bladé, M. Newman, J. R. Lanzante, N. C. Lau, and J. D. Scott, 2002: The atmospheric bridge: The influence of ENSO teleconnections on air–sea interaction over the global oceans. J. Climate, 15, 2205–2231.
Cayan, D. R., 1992: Latent and sensible heat flux anomalies over the northern oceans: Driving the sea surface temperature. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 22, 859–881.
Ciasto, L. M., and D. W. J. Thompson, 2004: North Atlantic atmosphere–ocean interaction on intraseasonal time scales. J. Climate, 17, 1617–1621.
Czaja, A., and C. Frankignoul, 2002: Observed impact of North Atlantic SST anomalies on the North Atlantic Oscillation. J. Climate, 15, 606–623.
Deser, C., and M. S. Timlin, 1997: Atmosphere–ocean interaction on weekly timescales in the North Atlantic and Pacific. J. Climate, 10, 393–408.
Fan, L., Z. Liu, and Q. Liu, 2011: Robust GEFA assessment of climate feedback to SST EOF modes. Adv. Atmos. Sci., 28, 907–912, doi:10.1007/s00376-010-0081-5.
Frankignoul, C., and E. Kestenare, 2002: The surface heat flux feedback. Part I: Estimates from the observations in the Atlantic and the North Pacific. Climate Dyn., 19, 633–647.
Frankignoul, C., and N. Sennechael, 2007: Observed influence of North Pacific SST anomalies on the atmospheric circulation. J. Climate, 20, 592–606.
Frankignoul, C., A. Czaja, and B. L’Heveder, 1998: Air–sea feedback in the North Atlantic and surface boundary conditions for ocean models. J. Climate, 11, 2310–2324.
Frankignoul, C., E. Kestenare, and J. Mignot, 2002: The surface heat flux feedback. Part II: Direct and indirect estimates in the ECHAM4/OPA8 coupled GCM. Climate Dyn., 19, 649–655.
Kelly, K. A., and S. Dong, 2004: The relation of western boundary current heat transport and storage to mid-latitude ocean–atmosphere interaction. Earth’s Climate: The Ocean–Atmosphere Interaction, Geophys. Monogr., Vol. 147, Amer. Geophys. Union, 347–363.
Kushnir, Y., W. A. Robinson, I. Bladé, N. M. J. Hall, S. Peng, and R. Sutton, 2002: Atmospheric GCM response to extratropical SST anomalies: Synthesis and evaluation. J. Climate, 15, 2233–2256.
Kwon, Y.-O., M. A. Alexander, N. A. Bond, C. Frankignoul, H. Nakamura, B. Qiu, and L. A. Thompson, 2010: Role of the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio–Oyashio systems in large-scale atmosphere–ocean interaction: A review. J. Climate, 23, 3249–3281.
Latif, M., and T. P. Barnett, 1994: Causes of decadal climate variability in the North Pacific/North American sector. Science, 266, 634–637.
Lau, N.-C., A. Leetmaa, and M. J. Nath, 2006: Attribution of atmospheric variations in the 1997–2003 period to SST anomalies in the Pacific and Indian Ocean basins. J. Climate, 19, 3607–3628.
Liu, Q., N. Wen, and Z. Liu, 2006: An observational study of the impact of the North Pacific SST on the atmosphere. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L18611, doi:10.1029/2006GL026082.
Liu, Z., and L. Wu, 2004: Atmospheric response to North Pacific SST: The role of ocean–atmosphere coupling. J. Climate, 17, 1859–1882.
Liu, Z., and N. Wen, 2008: On the assessment of nonlocal climate feedback. Part II: EFA-SVD analysis and optimal feedback. J. Climate, 21, 5402–5415.
Liu, Z., N. Wen, and Y. Liu, 2008: On the assessment of nonlocal climate feedback. Part I: The generalized equilibrium feedback analysis. J. Climate, 21, 134–148.
Liu, Z., N. Wen, and L. Fan, 2012a: Assessing atmospheric response to surface forcing in the observation. Part I: Cross validation of annual response using GEFA, LIM, and FDT. J. Climate, 25, 6796–6816.
Liu, Z., L. Fan, S. I. Shin, and Q. Liu, 2012b: Assessing atmospheric response to surface forcing in the observation. Part II: Cross validation of seasonal response using GEFA and LIM. J. Climate, 25, 6817–6834.
Minobe, S., A. Kuwano-Yoshida, N. Komori, S. Xie, and R. J. Small, 2008: Influence of the Gulf Stream on the troposphere. Nature, 452, 206–209.
Nonaka, M., and S. P. Xie, 2003: Covariations of sea surface temperature and wind over the Kuroshio and its extension: Evidence for ocean-to-atmosphere feedback. J. Climate, 16, 1404–1413.
Palmer, T. N., and Z. Sun, 1985: A modeling and observational study of the relationship between sea surface temperature in the north-west Atlantic and the atmospheric general circulation. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 111, 947–975.
Park, S., C. Deser, and M. A. Alexander, 2005: Estimation of the surface heat flux response to sea surface temperature anomalies over the global oceans. J. Climate, 18, 4582–4599.
Peng, S., L. A. Mysak, H. Richtie, J. Derome, and B. Dugas, 1995: The differences between early and midwinter atmospheric responses to sea surface temperature anomalies in the northwest Atlantic. J. Climate, 8, 137–157.
Rahmstorf, S., and J. Willebrand, 1995: The role of temperature feedback in stabilizing the thermohaline circulation. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 25, 787–805.
Tanimoto, Y., H. Nakamura, T. Kagimoto, and S. Yamane, 2003: An active role of extratropical sea surface temperature anomalies in determining anomalous turbulent heat fluxes. J. Geophys. Res., 108, 3304, doi:10.1029/2002JC001750.
Vimont, D. J., D. S. Battisti, and A. C. Hirst, 2001: Footprinting: A seasonal connection between the tropics and midlatitudes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 3923–3926.
Wen, N., Z. Liu, Q. Liu, and C. Frankignoul, 2005: Observations of SST, heat flux and North Atlantic Ocean–atmosphere interaction. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L24619, doi:10.1029/2005GL024871.
Wen, N., Z. Liu, Q. Liu, and C. Frankignoul, 2010: Observed atmospheric responses to global SST variability modes: A unified assessment using GEFA. J. Climate, 23, 1739–1759.
Zhong, Y., and Z. Liu, 2008: A joint statistical and dynamical assessment of atmospheric response to North Pacific oceanic variability in CCSM3. J. Climate, 21, 6044–6051.
Zhong, Y., Z. Liu, and M. Notaro, 2011: A GEFA assessment of global ocean influence on U.S. hydroclimate variability: Attribution to regional SST variability modes. J. Climate, 24, 693–707.