Monday, June 26, 2017

Stochastic forcing of north tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures by the NAO

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a quickly changing, rapidly decorrelating process that strongly affects the climate over the Atlantic and the surrounding continents.

Although the NAO itself is basically unpredictable on seasonal timescales using statistical methods, NAO forcing can significantly affect sea surface temperatures (SSTs) evolving on those timescales.

In an article to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers funded by NOAA's ESS program have shown that the NAO-generated forcing of SST during boreal winter and spring is responsible for more than half the statistically unpredictable component of SST in the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes during the subsequent summer and fall. 

Thus, seasonal forecasts of SST in that region might be improved if fast nonlinear NAO dynamics resolved by General Circulation Models could be predicted accurately enough to account for some of what seasonally averaged SSTs “see” as stochastic forcing.

This research was funded by CPO’s Climate Variability and Predictability program.

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The Climate Program Office (CPO) manages competitive research programs in which NOAA funds high-priority climate science, assessments, decision support research, outreach, education, and capacity-building activities designed to advance our understanding of Earth’s climate system, and to foster the application of this knowledge in risk management and adaptation efforts.  CPO-supported research is conducted in regions across the United States, at national and international scales, and globally.  Learn more...

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