Discussions with Paola Cessi and Arnaud Czaja at various stages in the development of this study were much appreciated. We should like to acknowledge the NOAA Office of Global Programs, whose support made this work possible. Helen Johnson was supported by the Physical Oceanography program of NSF during her stay at MIT. The observational data presented in section 2 was kindly made available to us by Martin Visbeck of Lamont.
Barsugli, J. J., and D. S. Battisti, 1998: The basic effects of atmosphere–ocean thermal coupling on middle-latitude variability. J. Atmos. Sci.,55, 477–493.
Battisti, D. S., and A. C. Hirst, 1989: Interannual variability in the tropical atmosphere/ocean system: Influence of the basic state, ocean geometry and non-linearity. J. Atmos. Sci.,46, 1687–1712.
——, U. S. Bhatt, and M. A. Alexander, 1995: A modeling study of the interannual variability of the North Atlantic Ocean. J. Climate,8, 3067–3083.
Bjerknes, J., 1964: Atlantic air–sea interaction. Advances in Geophysics, Vol. 10, Academic Press, 1–82.
Bretherton, C., and D. Battisti, 2000: An interpretation of the results from atmospheric general circulation models force by the time history of the observed sea surface temperature distribution. Geophys. Res. Lett.,27, 767–770.
Cayan, D. R., 1992: Latent and sensible heat flux anomalies over the oceans: Driving the sea surface temperature. J. Phys. Oceanogr.,22, 859–881.
Cessi, P., 2000: Thermal feedback on windstress as a contributing cause of climate variability. J. Climate,13, 232–244.
Curry, R. G., M. S. McCartney, and T. M. Joyce, 1998: Oceanic transport of subpolar climate signals to mid-depth subtropical waters. Nature,391, 575–577.
Czaja, A., and J. Marshall, 2000: On the interpretation of AGCM’s response to prescribed time-varying SST anomalies. Geophys. Res. Lett.,27, 1927–1930.
Delworth, T. L., and R. J. Greatbatch, 2000: Multidecadal thermohaline circulation variability driven by atmospheric surface flux forcing. J. Climate,13, 1481–1495.
Deser, C., and M. L. Blackmon, 1993: Surface climate variations over the North Atlantic Ocean during winter: 1900–1989. J. Climate,6, 1743–1753.
Dickson, R., J. Lazier, J. Meinke, P. Rhines, and J. Swift, 1996: Long-term coordinated changes in the convective activity of the North Atlantic. Progress in Oceanography, Vol. 38, Pergamon Press, 241–295.
Frankignoul, C., and K. Hasselmann, 1977: Stochastic climate models. Part II: Application to sea-surface temperature variability and thermocline variability. Tellus,29, 289–305.
——, P. Muller, and E. Zorita, 1997: A simple model of the decadal response of the ocean to stochastic wind forcing. J. Phys. Oceanogr.,27, 1533–1546.
——, 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.
Goodman, J., and J. Marshall, 1999: A model of decadal middle-latitude atmosphere–ocean coupled modes. J. Climate,12, 621–641.
Green, J. S. A., 1970: Transfer properties of the large-scale eddies and the general circulation of the atmosphere. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,96, 157–185.
Griffies, S. M., and E. Tziperman, 1995: A linear thermohaline oscillator driven by stochastic atmospheric forcing. J. Climate,8, 2440–2453.
Grotzner, A., M. Latif, and T. P. Barnett, 1998: A decadal climate cycle in the North Atlantic Ocean as simulated by the ECHO coupled GCM. J. Climate,11, 831–847.
Hakkinen, S., 2000: Decadal air–sea interaction in the North Atlantic based on observations and modeling results. J. Climate,13, 1195–1219.
Hall, A., and S. Manabe, 1997: Can local linear stochastic theory explain sea surface temperature and salinity variability? Climate Dyn.,13, 167–180.
Halliwell, G., 1998: Simulation of North Atlantic decadal/multidecadal winter SST anomalies driven by basin-scale atmospheric circulation anomalies. J. Phys. Oceanogr.,28, 5–21.
Hansen, D. V., and H. Bezdek, 1996: On the nature of decadal anomalies in North Atlantic sea surface temperature. J. Geophys. Res.,101, 8749–8758.
Hasselman, K., 1976: Stochastic climate models. Part I: Theory. Tellus,28, 289–305.
Hurrell, J. W., 1995: Decadal trends in the North Atlantic oscillation:Regional temperatures and precipitation. Science,269, 676–679.
Jin, F.-F., 1997: A theory of interdecadal climate variability of the North Pacific Ocean–atmosphere system. J. Climate,10, 324–338.
Joyce, T. M., C. Deser, and M. Spall, 2000: The relation between decadal variability of subtropical mode water and the North Atlantic oscillation. J. Climate,13, 2550–2569.
Kawase, M., 1987: Establishment of deep ocean circulation driven by deep-water production. J. Phys. Oceanogr.,17, 2294–2317.
Kushnir, Y., and I. Held, 1996: Equilibrium atmospheric response to North Atlantic SST anomalies. J. Climate,9, 1208–1220.
Lab Sea Group, 1998: The Labrador Sea Deep Convection Experiment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,79, 2033–2058.
Latif, M., and T. P. Barnett, 1994: Causes of decadal climate variability in the North Pacific/North Atlantic sector. Science,266, 634–637.
Luksch, U., 1996: Simulation of North Atlantic low-frequency SST variability. J. Climate,9, 2083–2092.
Mehta, V. M., M. J. Suarez, J. Manganello, and T. L. Delworth, 2000:Predictability of multiyear to decadal variations in the North Atlantic oscillation and associated Northern Hemisphere climate variations: 1959–1993. Geophys. Res. Lett.,27, 121–124.
Morotzke, J., and B. Klinger, 2000: The dynamics of equatorially asymmetric thermohaline circulations. J. Phys. Oceanogr.,30, 955–970.
Neelin, J. D., and W. Weng, 1999: Analytical prototypes for ocean–atmosphere interaction at midlatitudes. Part I: Coupled feedbacks as a sea surface temperature dependent stochastic process. J. Climate,12, 697–721.
Palmer, T. N., and Z. Sun, 1985: A modeling and observational study of the relationship between sea surface temperature anomalies in the northwest Atlantic and the atmospheric general circulation. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,111, 947–975.
Peng, S., W. A. Robinson, and M. P. Hoerling, 1997: The modeled atmospheric response to middle-latitude SST anomalies and its dependence on background circulation states. J. Climate,10, 971–987.
Rodwell, M. J., D. P. Rowell, and C. K. Folland, 1999: Oceanic forcing of the wintertime North Atlantic oscillation and European climate. Nature,398, 320–323.
Rogers, J. C., 1990: Patterns of low-frequency monthly sea level pressure variability (1899–1986) and associated wave cyclone frequencies. J. Climate,3, 1364–1379.
Rossby, C.-G., 1939: Relation between variations in the intensity of the zonal circulation of the atmosphere and the displacements of the semi-permanent centers of action. J. Mar. Res.,2, 38–55.
Saravanan, R., and J. C. McWilliams, 1998: Advective ocean–atmosphere interaction: An analytical stochastic model with implications for decadal variability. J. Climate,11, 165–188.
Selten, F. M., R. J. Haarsma, and J. D. Opsteegh, 1999: On the mechanism of North Atlantic decadal variability. J. Climate,12, 1956–1973.
Simmonds, I., and C. Chidzey, 1982: The parameterization of longwave flux in energy balance climate models. J. Atmos. Sci.,39, 2144–2151.
Suarez, M. J., and P. S. Schopf, 1988: A delayed action oscillator for ENSO. J. Atmos. Sci.,45, 3283–3287.
Sutton, R. T., and M. R. Allen, 1997: Decadal predictability of North Atlantic sea surface temperature and climate. Nature,388, 563–567.
Sverdrup, H., 1947: Wind-driven current in a baroclinic ocean; with application to the equatorial currents in the eastern Pacific. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.,33, 318–326.
Taylor, A. H., and J. A. Stephens, 1998: The North Atlantic oscillation and the latitude of the Gulf Stream. Tellus,50A, 134–142.
Timmerman, A., M. Latif, R. Voss, and A. Grotzner, 1998: Northern Hemispheric interdecadal variability: A coupled air–sea mode. J. Climate,11, 1906–1931.
Visbeck, M., H. Cullen, G. Krahmann, and N. Naik, 1998: An ocean model’s response to North Atlantic oscillation like wind forcing. Geophys. Res. Lett.,25, 4521–4524.
Weng, W., and J. D. Neelin, 1998: On the role of ocean–atmosphere interaction in middle-latitude interdecadal variability. Geophys. Res. Lett.,25, 167–170.