Impacts of the North Atlantic warming hole in future climate projections: Mean atmospheric circulation and the North Atlantic jet

Melissa Gervais, Jeffrey Shaman, Yochanan Kushnir

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In future climate simulations there is a pronounced region of reduced warming in the subpolar gyre of the North Atlantic Ocean known as the North Atlantic warming hole (NAWH). This study investigates the impact of the North Atlantic warming hole on atmospheric circulation and midlatitude jets within the Community Earth System Model (CESM). A series of large-ensemble atmospheric model experiments with prescribed sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice are conducted, in which the warming hole is either filled or deepened. Two mechanisms through which the NAWH impacts the atmosphere are identified: a linear response characterized by a shallow atmospheric cooling and increase in sea level pressure shifted slightly downstream of the SST changes, and a transient eddy forced response whereby the enhanced SST gradient produced by theNAWHleads to increased transient eddy activity that propagates vertically and enhances the midlatitude jet. The relative contributions of these two mechanisms and the details of the response are strongly dependent on the season, time period, and warming hole strength. Our results indicate that the NAWH plays an important role in midlatitude atmospheric circulation changes in CESM future climate simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2673-2689
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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