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Development, amplification, and decay of Atlantic/European summer weather patterns linked to spring North Atlantic sea surface temperatures

Ossó, A., Sutton, R., Shaffrey, L. and Dong, B. (2020) Development, amplification, and decay of Atlantic/European summer weather patterns linked to spring North Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Journal of Climate, 33 (14). pp. 5939-5951. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0613.1

Abstract/Summary

A recent study identified a relationship between North Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) gradients in spring and a specific pattern of atmospheric circulation in the following summer: the summer east Atlantic (SEA) pattern. It was shown that the SEA pattern is closely associated with meridional shifts in the eddy-driven jet in response to anomalous SST gradients. In this study, the physical mechanisms underlying this relationship are investigated further. It is shown that the predictable SEA pattern anomalies appear in June–July and undergo substantial amplification between July and August before decaying in September. The associated SST anomalies also grow in magnitude and spatial extent from June to August. The question of why the predictable atmospheric anomalies should occur in summer is addressed, and three factors are identified. The first is the climatological position of the storm track, which migrates poleward from spring to summer. The second is that the magnitude of interannual SST variability underlying the storm track peaks in summer, both in absolute terms, and relative to the underlying mean SST gradient. The third factor is the most interesting. We identify a positive coupled ocean–atmosphere feedback, which operates in summer and leads to the amplification of both SST and atmospheric circulation anomalies. The extent to which the identified processes are captured in the HadGEM3-GC2 climate model is also assessed. The model is able to capture the relationship between spring North Atlantic SSTs and subsequent ocean–atmosphere conditions in early summer, but the relationship is too weak. The results suggest that the real world might be more predictable than is inferred from the models.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:91492
Uncontrolled Keywords:Atmospheric Science
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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