On the role of the ocean in projected atmospheric stability changes in the Atlantic polar low region
Woollings, T., Harvey, B., Zahn, M. and Shaffrey, L. (2012) On the role of the ocean in projected atmospheric stability changes in the Atlantic polar low region. Geophysical Research Letters, 39 (24). L24802. ISSN 0094-8276
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2012GL054016
The occurrence of destructive mesoscale ‘polar low’ cyclones in the subpolar North Atlantic is projected to decline under anthropogenic change, due to an increase in atmospheric static stability. This letter reports on the role of changes in ocean circulation in shaping the atmospheric stability. In particular, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is projected to weaken in response to anthropogenic forcing, leading to a local minimum in warming in this region. The reduced warming is restricted to the lower troposphere, hence contributing to the increase in static stability. Linear correlation analysis of the CMIP3 climate model ensemble suggests that around half of the model uncertainty in the projected stability response arises from the varied response of the AMOC between models.