Synthesis and evaluation of historical meridional heat transport from midlatitudes towards the Arctic

Liu, Yang; Attema, Jisk; Moat, Ben ORCID:; Hazeleger, Wilco. 2019 Synthesis and evaluation of historical meridional heat transport from midlatitudes towards the Arctic. Earth System Dynamics Discussions. 1-33. (In Press)

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Meridional Energy Transport (MET), both in the atmosphere (AMET) and ocean (OMET), has significant impact on the climate in the Arctic. In this study, we quantify AMET and OMET at subpolar latitudes from six reanalyses datasets. We investigate the differences between the datasets and we check the coherence between MET and the Arctic climate variability from annual to interannual scales. The results indicate that, although the mean transport in all datasets agree well, the spatial distribution and temporal variations of AMET and OMET differ substantially among the reanalysis datasets. For the ocean, only after 2010 the low-frequency signals for all reanalyses products agree well. A further comparison with observed heat transports at 26.5° N and the subpolar Atlantic, and a high-resolution ocean model hindcast confirm that the OMET estimated from reanalyses are consistent with independent observations. For the atmosphere, the variations among reanalyses datasets are large. This can be attributed to differences in temperature transport. A further analysis of linkages between the Arctic climate variability and AMET shows that atmospheric reanalyses differ substantially from each other. Among all the chosen atmospheric products, ERA-Interim results are most consistent with results obtained with coupled climate models. For the ocean, ORAS4 and SODA3 agree well on the relation between OMET and sea ice concentration (SIC), while GLORYS2V3 deviates from those data sets. Our study suggests, since the reanalyses products are not designed for the quantification of energy transport, the AMET and OMET estimated from reanalyses should be used with great care, especially when studying variability and interactions between the Arctic and midlatitudes beyond annual time scales.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2190-4995
Date made live: 01 May 2019 14:35 +0 (UTC)

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