GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Contributions of Downstream Eddy Development to the Teleconnection between ENSO and the Atmospheric Circulation over the North Atlantic

February 1st, 2013

Ying Li and Ngar-Cheung Lau. Journal: Journal of Climate. DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00377.1

Summary

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant pattern of interannual climate variability, and has strong influence on the atmospheric circulation around the globe. North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is another prominent mode of interannual variability in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, and exerts a strong influence on the climate of the North Atlantic basin and the surrounding land areas. The main purpose of this study is to describe and assess of the interactions between these two prominent patterns of interannual climate variability.

In this study, we analyze daily data from a 2000-year simulation of pre-industrial climate, using GFDL’s global coupled climate model CM2.1, and compare those results with observations. Our goal is to examine the role of transient eddies in the ENSO/NAO relationship during anomalous episodes with duration of less than one month.

Based on the daily data analysis, this study offers a more detailed perspective of the eddy processes responsible for the ENSO/NAO relationships examined in our previous study using seasonal averages. Due to the low vertical resolution of the model stratosphere in CM2.1, the El Niño effect on the simulated extratropical stratosphere is very weak. We have conducted a follow-up study to explore the importance of stratosphere processes in the ENSO/NAO relationship using the new GFDL climate model (CM3) with a more realistic upper atmosphere.

Figure: Variations of the north-south component of the wind at 250 hPa and 30°-45°N with time (ordinate) and longitude (abscissa) during the 2009-2010 winter. The black dots denote the occurrence of prominent storms at the surface. Note the prevalence of eastward propagating waves at 250 hPa throughout the season, and the association of these wave activities with strong surface storm development in the North American sector.
Figure: Variations of the north-south component of the wind at 250 hPa and 30°-45°N with time (ordinate) and longitude (abscissa) during the 2009-2010 winter. The black dots denote the occurrence of prominent storms at the surface. Note the prevalence of eastward propagating waves at 250 hPa throughout the season, and the association of these wave activities with strong surface storm development in the North American sector.