Development of warm SST errors in the southern tropical Atlantic in CMIP5 decadal hindcasts
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00382-013-1691-2
SST errors in the tropical Atlantic are large and systematic in current coupled general-circulation models. We analyse the growth of these errors in the region of the south-eastern tropical Atlantic in initialised decadal hindcasts integrations for three of the models participating in the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project 5. A variety of causes for the initial bias development are identified, but a crucial involvement is found, in all cases considered, of ocean-atmosphere coupling for their maintenance. These involve an oceanic “bridge” between the Equator and the Benguela-Angola coastal seas which communicates sub-surface ocean anomalies and constitutes a coupling between SSTs in the south-eastern tropical Atlantic and the winds over the Equator. The resulting coupling between SSTs, winds and precipitation represents a positive feedback for warm SST errors in the south-eastern tropical Atlantic.