Short-Term Climatic Fluctuations Forced by Thermal Anomalies

View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort, Collins, CO 80523
© Get Permissions
Full access

Abstract

A two-level, global, spectral model is used to study the response of the atmosphere to sea surface temperature anomalies. Two sea surface temperature anomaly patterns are investigated. The first, called the El Niño pattern (Experiment 1), represents a warm anomaly in the equatorial Pacific, whereas the second pattern (Experiment 2) represents coupled midlatitude (cold)/ equatorial (warm) sea surface temperature anomalies in the pacific Ocean.

The results demonstrate that both of these sea surface temperature anomaly patterns produce statistically significant midtropospheric geopotential responses in middle latitudes. However, the geopotential response forced by the coupled sea surface temperature anomaly is qualitatively more similar to the geopotential height pattern which is observed in association with the negative phase of the Southern Oscillation (Horel and Wallace). Analysis of the differences (anomaly minus control) of the meridional transports of momentum. sensible heat and latent heat indicates that the coupled pattern tends to largely enhance the northward transports of momentum and sensible heat, especially for the transient and stationary eddy components. The maximum difference in the total (transient, stationary eddies and mean meridional circulation) transport of momentum is nearly double that revealed by the El Niño experiment.

Abstract

A two-level, global, spectral model is used to study the response of the atmosphere to sea surface temperature anomalies. Two sea surface temperature anomaly patterns are investigated. The first, called the El Niño pattern (Experiment 1), represents a warm anomaly in the equatorial Pacific, whereas the second pattern (Experiment 2) represents coupled midlatitude (cold)/ equatorial (warm) sea surface temperature anomalies in the pacific Ocean.

The results demonstrate that both of these sea surface temperature anomaly patterns produce statistically significant midtropospheric geopotential responses in middle latitudes. However, the geopotential response forced by the coupled sea surface temperature anomaly is qualitatively more similar to the geopotential height pattern which is observed in association with the negative phase of the Southern Oscillation (Horel and Wallace). Analysis of the differences (anomaly minus control) of the meridional transports of momentum. sensible heat and latent heat indicates that the coupled pattern tends to largely enhance the northward transports of momentum and sensible heat, especially for the transient and stationary eddy components. The maximum difference in the total (transient, stationary eddies and mean meridional circulation) transport of momentum is nearly double that revealed by the El Niño experiment.

Save