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Decadal to multidecadal variability and the climate change background

Parker, D., Folland, C., Scaife, A., Knight, J., Colman, A., Baines, P. and Dong, B. (2007) Decadal to multidecadal variability and the climate change background. Journal of Geophysical Research, 112. D18115. ISSN 0148-0227

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2007JD008411

Abstract/Summary

Three prominent quasi-global patterns of variability and change are observed using the Met Office's sea surface temperature (SST) analysis and almost independent night marine air temperature analysis. The first is a global warming signal that is very highly correlated with global mean SST. The second is a decadal to multidecadal fluctuation with some geographical similarity to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It is associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), and its Pacific-wide manifestation has been termed the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). We present model investigations of the relationship between the IPO and ENSO. The third mode is an interhemispheric variation on multidecadal timescales which, in view of climate model experiments, is likely to be at least partly due to natural variations in the thermohaline circulation. Observed climatic impacts of this mode also appear in model simulations. Smaller-scale, regional atmospheric phenomena also affect climate on decadal to interdecadal timescales. We concentrate on one such mode, the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). This shows strong decadal to interdecadal variability and a correspondingly strong influence on surface climate variability which is largely additional to the effects of recent regional anthropogenic climate change. The winter NAO is likely influenced by both SST forcing and stratospheric variability. A full understanding of decadal changes in the NAO and European winter climate may require a detailed representation of the stratosphere that is hitherto missing in the major climate models used to study climate change.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:29480
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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