AMOC fingerprints influence seasonal SST predictability in the North Atlantic

Oliveira, Julianna C.; Borchert, Leonard; Duchez, Aurélie; Dobrynin, Mikhail; Baehr, Johanna. 2020 AMOC fingerprints influence seasonal SST predictability in the North Atlantic. Weather and Climate Dynamics. (Submitted)

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We investigate the impact of the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) at 26° N on the prediction of North Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) a season ahead. We consider the physical mechanism proposed by Duchez et al. (2016a) and test the dependence of SST predictive skill in initialised hindcasts on the phase of AMOC at 26° N. We use initialised simulations with the MPI-ESM-MR seasonal prediction system. First, we use the assimilation experiment between 1979–2014 to confirm that the AMOC leads a SSTA dipole pattern in the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic, with strongest AMOC fingerprints after 2–4 months. Going beyond previous studies, we find that the AMOC fingerprint has a seasonal dependence, and is sensitive to the length of the observational window used, i.e. stronger over the last decade than for the entire time series back to 1979. We then use a set of ensemble hindcast simulations with 30 members, starting each February, May, August and November between 1982 and 2014. We compare the changes in skill between composites based on the AMOC phase a month prior to each start date to simulations without considering the AMOC phase. We find higher SST hindcast skill at 2–4 months lead time for SSTA composites based on the AMOC phase for February, May and November start dates. Our method shows major benefit for May start dates, where mean summer SST hindcast skill over the subtropics increase by a factor of 2, reaching up to 80 % agreement with ERA-Interim SST.

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Date made live: 02 Nov 2020 15:17 +0 (UTC)

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