The Storm-Track Response to Idealized SST Perturbations in an Aquaplanet GCM
Brayshaw, D. J., Hoskins, B. J. and Blackburn, M. (2008) The Storm-Track Response to Idealized SST Perturbations in an Aquaplanet GCM. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 65 (9). pp. 2842-2860. ISSN 1520-0469
To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/2008JAS2657.1
The tropospheric response to midlatitude SST anomalies has been investigated through a series of aquaplanet simulations using a high-resolution version of the Hadley Centre atmosphere model (HadAM3) under perpetual equinox conditions. Model integrations show that increases in the midlatitude SST gradient generally lead to stronger storm tracks that are shifted slightly poleward, consistent with changes in the lower-tropospheric baroclinicity. The large-scale atmospheric response is, however, highly sensitive to the position of the SST gradient anomaly relative to that of the subtropical jet in the unperturbed atmosphere. In particular, when SST gradients are increased very close to the subtropical jet, then the Hadley cell and subtropical jet is strengthened while the storm track and eddy-driven jet are shifted equatorward. Conversely, if the subtropical SST gradients are reduced and the midlatitude gradients increased, then the storm track shows a strong poleward shift and a well-separated eddy-driven jet is produced. The sign of the SST anomaly is shown to play a secondary role in determining the overall tropospheric response. These findings are used to provide a new and consistent interpretation of some previous GCM studies concerning the atmospheric response to midlatitude SST anomalies.