May 29, 2014

Assessing the Importance of Prominent Warm SST Anomalies over the Midlatitude North Pacific in Forcing Large-Scale Atmospheric Anomalies during 2011 Summer and Autumn

Satoru Okajima, Hisashi Nakamura, Kazuaki Nishii, Takafumi Miyasaka, Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
American Meteorological Society
  • Conducts sets of atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) experiments to assess the importance of prominent positive anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) observed over the midlatitude North Pacific in forcing a persistent basin-scale anticyclonic circulation anomaly and its downstream influence in 2011 summer and autumn
  • Reproduces the anticyclonic anomaly observed in October as a robust response of an AGCM forced only with the warm SST anomaly associated with the poleward-shifted oceanic frontal zone in the midlatitude Pacific
  • Maintains the equivalent barotropic anticyclonic anomaly over the North Pacific under strong transient eddy feedback forcing associated with the poleward-deflected storm track
  • Reproduces, to some extent, the downstream influence of the anomaly, abnormal warmth and dryness observed over the northern United States and southern Canada in October 
  • Finds the corresponding AGCM response over the North Pacific to the tropical SST anomalies is similar but substantially weaker and less robust, suggesting the primary importance of the prominent midlatitude SST anomaly in forcing the large-scale atmospheric anomalies observed in October 2011
  • Unable to reproduce the atmospheric anomalies observed in summer, likely due to the fact that, unlike in October, the midlatitude SST anomalies accompanied reduction of heat and moisture release from the ocean, indicative of the atmospheric thermodynamic forcing on the SST anomalies
  • States the distinct seasonality in the AGCM responses to the warm SST anomalies may also be contributed to by the seasonality of background westerlies and storm track