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Weather and Climate Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2019-18
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-2019-18
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 09 Jan 2020

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Weather and Climate Dynamics (WCD).

Nonlinearity in the Tropospheric Pathway of ENSO to the North Atlantic

Bernat Jiménez-Esteve and Daniela I. V. Domeisen Bernat Jiménez-Esteve and Daniela I. V. Domeisen
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can exert a remote impact on North Atlantic and European (NAE) winter climate. This teleconnection is driven by the superposition and interaction of different influences, which are generally grouped into two main pathways, namely the tropospheric and stratospheric pathways. In this study, we focus on the tropospheric pathway through the North Pacific and across the North American continent. Due to the possible non-stationary behavior and the limited time period covered by reanalysis data sets, the potential nonlinearity of this pathway remains unclear. In order to address this question, we use a simplified physics atmospheric model forced with seasonally varying prescribed sea surface temperatures (SST) following the evolution of different ENSO phases with linearly varying strength at a fixed location. To isolate the tropospheric pathway the zonal mean stratospheric winds are nudged towards the model climatology. The model experiments indicate that the tropospheric pathway of ENSO to the North Atlantic exhibits significant nonlinearity with respect to the tropical SST forcing, both in the location and amplitude of the impacts. For example, strong El Niño leads to a significantly stronger impact over the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) than a La Niña forcing of the same amplitude. For La Niña forcings, there is a saturation in the response, with no further increase in the NAO impact even when doubling the SSTforcing, while this is not the case for El Niño. These findings may have important consequences for long-range predictions of the North Atlantic and Europe.

Bernat Jiménez-Esteve and Daniela I. V. Domeisen
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 20 Feb 2020)
Status: open (until 20 Feb 2020)
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Bernat Jiménez-Esteve and Daniela I. V. Domeisen
Data sets

Extended reconstructed sea surface temperature version 4 (ERSST.v4) B. Huang, V. F. Banzon, E. Freeman, J. Lawrimore, W. Liu, T. C. Peterson, T. M. Smith, P. W. Thorne, S. D. Woodruff, and H. M. Zhang https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00006.1

ERA-Interim reanalysis D. P. Dee, S. M. Uppala, A. J. Simmons, P. Berrisford, P. Poli, S. Kobayashi, U. Andrae, M. A. Balmaseda, G. Balsamo, P. Bauer, P. Bechtold, A. C. Beljaars, L. van de Berg, J. Bidlot, N. Bormann, C. Delsol, R. Dragani, M. Fuentes, A. J. Geer, L. Haimberger, S. B. Healy, H. Hersbach, E. V. Hólm, L. Isaksen, P. Kållberg, M. Köhler, M. Matricardi, A. P. Mcnally, B. M. Monge-Sanz, J. J. Morcrette, B. K. Park, C. Peubey, P. de Rosnay, C. Tavolato, J. N. Thépaut, and F. Vitart https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.828

Model code and software

Isca modelling framework codeI G. K. Vallis, G. Colyer, R. Geen, E. Gerber, M. Jucker, P. Maher, A. Paterson, M. Pietschnig, J. Penn, and S. I. Thomson https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-11-843-2018

Bernat Jiménez-Esteve and Daniela I. V. Domeisen
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Short summary
Atmospheric predictability over Europe on sub-seasonal to seasonal timescales remains limited. However, the remote impact from El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) can help to improve predictability. Research has suggested that the ENSO impact in the North Atlantic region is affected by nonlinearities. Here, we isolate the nonlinearities in the tropospheric pathway through the North Pacific, finding that e.g. a strong El Niño leads to a stronger and district impact than La Niña.
Atmospheric predictability over Europe on sub-seasonal to seasonal timescales remains limited....
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