Recent abnormal changes in wintertime atmospheric response to tropical SST forcing

Ryuichi Kawamura, Masato Sugi, Takahiro Kayahara, Nobuo Sato

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An ensemble of climate experiments has been performed using a T42 GCM version of the Japan Meteorological Agency global model to examine abnormal changes in the wintertime extratropical atmospheric response to anomalous sea surface temperature (SST) forcing in recent decades. Three independent 39-year integrations for the period 1955-1993 are forced by the same observed SST boundary condition. Although the tropical Pacific SST anomalies since the late 1980s indicate El Nino-like patterns, the Pacific/North American teleconnection (PNA) pattern is found to be hardly simulated, which stands in sharp contrast with that for the period 1977-1983. The SSTs in the vicinity of the maritime continent (the Indonesian region), including the tropical Indian Ocean, are very high during the period 1987-1993 and associated model atmosphere does undergo pronounced zonal heating over almost the entire tropics. Such tropical heating does not necessarily favor the barotropic Rossby wave dispersion into the extratropics emanating out of convective forcing since weakened Walker circulation is not capable of producing localized strong divergence anomalies, hence inhibiting generation of apparent vorticity sources in the subtropics. If the prevailing tendency of high SSTs in the vicinity of the maritime continent persists from now on, it is anticipated that a good correlation between El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and PNA, which has been pointedout by previous numerous studies, becomes insignificant. This anomalous feature may be viewed as a signature of global warming.

Original languageEnglish
Article number97GL00688
Pages (from-to)783-786
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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