Potential for seasonal prediction of the Atlantic sea surface temperatures using the RAPID array at 26°N

Duchez, Aurélie , Courtois, Peggy, Harris, Elizabeth, Josey, Simon, Kanzow, Torsten, Marsh, Robert, Smeed, David and Hirschi, Joël Jean-Marie (2015) Potential for seasonal prediction of the Atlantic sea surface temperatures using the RAPID array at 26°N. Climate Dynamics, 46, (9), 3351-3370. (doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2918-1).


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The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) plays a critical role in the climate system and is responsible for much of the meridional heat transported by the ocean. In this paper, the potential of using AMOC observations from the 26 ? N RAPID array to predict North Atlantic sea surface temperatures is investigated for the first time. Using spatial correlations and a composite method, the AMOC anomaly is used as a precursor of North Atlantic sea-surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs). The results show that the AMOC leads a dipolar SSTA with maximum correlations between 2 and 5 months. The physical mechanism explaining the link between AMOC and SSTA is described as a seesaw mechanism where a strong AMOC anomaly increases the amount of heat advected north of 26 ? N as well as the SSTA, and decreases the heat content and the SSTA south of this section. In order to further understand the origins of this SSTA dipole, the respective contributions of the heat advected by the AMOC versus the Ekman transport and air–sea fluxes have been assessed. We found that at a 5-month lag, the Ekman component mainly contributes to the southern part of the dipole and cumulative air–sea fluxes only explain a small fraction of the SSTA variability. Given that the southern part of the SSTA dipole encompasses the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes, our results therefore suggest the potential for AMOC observations from 26 ? N to be used to complement existing seasonal hurricane forecasts in the Atlantic.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/s00382-015-2918-1
ISSNs: 0930-7575 (print)
1432-0894 (electronic)
Keywords: Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, RAPID array, Seasonal potential predictability, Sea surface temperature, Air–sea heat flux
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions : Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences > Ocean and Earth Science > Physical Oceanography
National Oceanography Centre (NERC) > Marine Physics and Ocean Climate
National Oceanography Centre (NERC) > Marine Systems Modelling
ePrint ID: 384496
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
November 2015Accepted
14 December 2015Made publicly available
May 2016Published
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2016 13:23
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 00:41
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/384496

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