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    The average change (tendency) of the index over 1 day for the (a) NAM index and (b) SAM index (gpm day−1). The cool colors denote the changes for the winter cold season, and the warm colors denote the changes for the warm season. The minimum MJO amplitudes considered in the calculation of each average tendency are indicated (Flatau and Kim 2013). MJO phases 1–3 occur in the Indian Ocean and phases 4–8 occur in the Pacific.

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    (top to bottom) Total OLR composite on lag day 0, with lagged composites of SAT on lag days 0, 5, 10, and 15 for MJO phases (left) 1 and (right) 5. The MJO phase 1 is defined when the convection occurs in the western tropical Indian Ocean while MJO phase 5 takes place when the convection occurs in the western tropical Pacific. Solid contours are positive, dashed contours are negative, and the zero contours are omitted (Yoo et al. 2011).

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    Schematic atmospheric circulation pattern in response to ENSO warm events superimposed on the corresponding SST composite (Yuan 2004). The Rossby wave train emanating from the tropics leads a high SLP anomaly in the southeast Pacific. Because of the warm SST, the Hadley cell is enhanced and contracted in the South Pacific while weakened and expanded in the South Atlantic. It results in the jet stream moving equatorward in the Pacific but poleward in the Atlantic. This change in the jet stream leads to the changes of storm distribution.

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    Partial correlation coefficients of 500-hPa geopotential height (GPH) with the normalized (a) EP and (b) CP El Niño indices for DJF during 1979–2009. The EP El Niño index is defined by the traditional Niño-3 index, while CP El Niño index is defined as IEM = Ta,C − 0.5Ta,E − 0.5Ta,W, where Ta,C, Ta,E, and Ta,W are the mean SST anomalies over the CP (10°S–10°N, 165°E–140°W), EP (15°S–5°N, 110°–70°W), and western Pacific (10°S–20°N, 125°–145°E), respectively. The term IEM reflects the pattern of warm central equatorial Pacific and cold western and eastern equatorial Pacific. Regions above the 90% confidence level are shaded. The Rossby wave train excited by CP El Niño propagates west of the wave emanated by EP El Niño and produces a less significant positive center in the Amundsen Sea (Sun et al. 2013).

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    Regression coefficients of bimonthly SST (°C; shading) and 500-hPa GPH (m; contours) on the Niño-3 index for the period of 1951–2005. SST data are from the Met Office Hadley Centre dataset, and the GPH data are from the NCAR–NCEP reanalysis dataset. The regression coefficients of GPH on the Niño-3 index for the September–October mean time series in the top-left panel show the most profound Rossby wave propagation compared to other months (Jin and Kirtman 2010).

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    Cross-spectra between (a) PSA and wave 3, (b) SAM and semiannual oscillation (SAO), (c) PSA and SAM, and (d) PSA and SAO. SAO is an index of semiannual oscillation defined as the difference between zonal-mean SLP at 50° and 65°S. The 53-yr (1950–2003) monthly time series of these indices derived from NCAR–NCEP reanalysis were standardized and detrended before calculating the cross-spectra. Dashed lines indicate the 95% confidence level. PSA and wave 3 share significant energy at 3–5-yr periods. SAM and PSA also share significant variance at interannual and decadal time scales (Yuan and Li 2008).

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    (a) SAM (solid) and Niño-3.4 (dashed) indices from 1997 to 2007. The indices’ out-of-phase periods, which produce in-phase impact in the Weddell Sea, are shaded in gray. (b) Six-month running mean of meridional wind anomalies (dashed line) at 75°S, 52.5°W, and SIC anomalies averaged over the shelf in the western Weddell Sea (solid). Dark gray shading marks calendar years when more shelf water is formed, while light gray shading marks years when less is formed. (c) Temperature anomalies at 3096 m (dashed line) and 4560 m (solid line) below sea surface in the northwest Weddell Sea. The dark gray shading indicates calendar years of anomalously cold pulses, and light gray indicates calendar years of anomalously warm pulses (mean temperature anomaly for that year, negative or positive, respectively). Negative SAM and El Niño events lead to more shelf water production in the western Weddell Sea shelf region, and consequently produce cold pulses on the Weddell Sea Bottom Water more than a year later (McKee et al. 2011).

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    (top) Surface temperature (K, color shading), and (bottom) 500-hPa GPH (gpm; contour interval 10 gpm) anomalies associated with the composite sum of (a) all El Niño and La Niña winters, (b) El Niño and La Niña winters in which at least one SSW occurs, and (c) El Niño and La Niña winters during which no SSWs occur. In the bottom panels, the red (blue) contours indicate positive (negative) GPH anomalies, and the black line (gray shading) indicates anomalies with p < 0.05 for a two-tailed Student’s t test. The composites were calculated from the NCAR–NCEP reanalysis dataset for the period of 1958–2013. The mean for all ENSO events in (a) cancels the linear impacts induced by El Niño and La Niña events. The composites of ENSO events with SSWs in (b) limit ENSO’s linear influence in the troposphere (no clear Rossby wave in the GPH composite) and isolate ENSO’s influence through the stratospheric pathway, which results in a warm North American and cold Europe. Without ENSO influences, the stratospheric activity produces the opposite temperature anomalies in (c) (Butler et al. 2014).

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    Principal modes of covarying tropical SST and AP surface temperature in austral fall. Maximum covariance analysis (MCA) results for MAM 1979–2009 tropical (30°S–30°N) SST and surface air temperature in the AP. (a) Mode 1 tropical SST (shading interval 0.1°C) and (b) mode 1 surface temperature in the AP (shading interval 0.2°C). (c) Mode 1 expansion coefficient of the SST (dark gray) and surface air temperature in the AP (light gray). (d) Regression of the MCA mode 1 SST times series against ERA-Interim geopotential height (contour interval of 10 m) and winds (vector; m s−1) at 200 hPa. Amplitudes in (a) and (b) are scaled by one standard deviation of the corresponding time series in (c). In (d), shading denotes regions in which the correlation of the MCA mode 1 SST time series with Z200 is significant at or above the 95% confidence level. The wind vectors are displayed if either component is significantly related to the MCA mode 1 SST time series (above the 95% confidence level) (Ding and Steig 2013).

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    (left) Composite 300-hPa zonal wind anomalies (m s−1) and (right) transient eddy momentum flux convergence (10−6 m s−2; gray lines) and stationary eddy momentum flux convergence (10−6 m s−2; black lines) for the (a) CP El Niño and (b) EP El Niño events. Light (dark) gray shading indicates the equatorward (poleward) side of the midlatitude jet. The zonal winds and momentum fluxes are derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis dataset for the period of 1979–2014. The transient eddy momentum convergence and stationary momentum convergence cancel each other out in the mid–high latitudes for EP El Niño events, resulting in a weaker high-latitude ENSO impact (Yu et al. 2015).

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    During the last Ice Age or LGM, there were marked changes in temperature and precipitation relative to the present. As an example, the changes shown here are from Chiang and Bitz (2005), who used the CCM3 coupled to a 50-m slab ocean to study this period. (a) The described glacier extent (red) during the LGM. Glacier ice covered large tracts of the high (and even middle) latitudes; (b) annual-mean differences in SST and surface temperature between LGM and present-day simulations; (c) annual-mean differences in precipitation (mm day−1) between LGM and present-day simulations. Note the southward shift of the ITCZ across the globe and the marked consequential shift in precipitation patterns.

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    Climate proxy records during the last glacial to interglacial transition: (a) δ18O and CO2 (ppmv) from West Antarctica (WAIS Divide Project Members 2013; Marcott et al. 2014); (b) Opal flux from sediment core TN057–13PC9 (Anderson et al. 2009); (c) δ18O from the North Greenland Ice Core Project (Rasmussen et al. 2006) and (d) from the Hulu and Dongge Caves, China (Yuan et al. 2004). Also shown are timing of HE-1, Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR), and YD following that used in references.

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    How a polar–subpolar North Atlantic sector could have impacted the tropics during cold glacial and deglacial climates. The large NH ice sheets that exist during the Ice Age—and their attendant impacts on tropical climate—present scenarios for which we have no precise modern analogs (cf. Figs. 3 and 4). (a) From Anderson and Carr (2010), who reviewed a scenario whereby expanded winter sea ice in the North Atlantic, following a freshwater influx, induces a southward displacement or intensification of the southern westerlies. The change in winds causes increased exchange between surface and deep waters, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and helping to end an Ice Age (termination). The conceptual model is in part based on Anderson et al. (2009), Toggweiler and Lea (2010), and Denton et al. (2010). (b) S.-Y. Lee et al. (2011) examined the hypothesis presented in the top panel using the CCM, version 3.6. In (b), BASE represents the present climate; the bottom in (b) shows the hypothesized effects of extremely cold North Atlantic conditions, such as during Heinrich events (see text), including marked impacts to the ITCZ and Hadley cell, the effects of which can reach even the high southern latitudes and southern CDW, as envisioned in the top panel.

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    Climatological zonal-mean sea level pressure for the period of 1901–2000 in (a) February and (b) September, derived from the historical run of 42 CIMP5 fully coupled climate models. The amplification of model uncertainties in the polar regions, particularly in the Antarctic, indicates the models’ deficiencies in representing the atmosphere–ocean–sea ice coupled system as well as in representing the extreme environment of continental Antarctica.

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The Interconnected Global Climate System—A Review of Tropical–Polar Teleconnections

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  • 1 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
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Abstract

This paper summarizes advances in research on tropical–polar teleconnections, made roughly over the last decade. Elucidating El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) impacts on high latitudes has remained an important focus along different lines of inquiry. Tropical to polar connections have also been discovered at the intraseasonal time scale, associated with Madden–Julian oscillations (MJOs). On the time scale of decades, changes in MJO phases can result in temperature and sea ice changes in the polar regions of both hemispheres. Moreover, the long-term changes in SST of the western tropical Pacific, tropical Atlantic, and North Atlantic Ocean have been linked to the rapid winter warming around the Antarctic Peninsula, while SST changes in the central tropical Pacific have been linked to the warming in West Antarctica. Rossby wave trains emanating from the tropics remain the key mechanism for tropical and polar teleconnections from intraseasonal to decadal time scales. ENSO-related tropical SST anomalies affect higher-latitude annular modes by modulating mean zonal winds in both the subtropics and midlatitudes. Recent studies have also revealed the details of the interactions between the Rossby wave and atmospheric circulations in high latitudes. We also review some of the hypothesized connections between the tropics and poles in the past, including times when the climate was fundamentally different from present day especially given a larger-than-present-day global cryosphere. In addition to atmospheric Rossby waves forced from the tropics, large polar temperature changes and amplification, in part associated with variability in orbital configuration and solar irradiance, affected the low–high-latitude connections.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Xiaojun Yuan, xyuan@ldeo.columbia.edu

This article is included in the Connecting the Tropics to the Polar Regions Special Collection.