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Title: Positive low cloud and dust feedbacks amplify tropical North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

Abstract

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is characterized by a horseshoe pattern of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and has a wide range of climatic impacts. While the tropical arm of AMO is responsible for many of these impacts, it is either too weak or completely absent in many climate model simulations. Here we show, using both observational and model evidence, that the radiative effect of positive low cloud and dust feedbacks is strong enough to generate the tropical arm of AMO, with the low cloud feedback more dominant. The feedbacks can be understood in a consistent dynamical framework: weakened tropical trade wind speed in response to a warm middle latitude SST anomaly reduces dust loading and low cloud fraction over the tropical Atlantic, which warms the tropical North Atlantic SST. Together they contribute to the appearance of the tropical arm of AMO. Most current climate models miss both the critical wind speed response and two positive feedbacks though realistic simulations of them may be essential for many climatic studies related to the AMO.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [2];  [2];  [6]
  1. Joint Center for Earth Systems TechnologyUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County Catonsville Maryland USA, Earth Science DirectorateNASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt Maryland USA
  2. Earth Science DirectorateNASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt Maryland USA
  3. Program for Climate Modeling Diagnosis and IntercomparisonLawrence Livermore National Laboratory Livermore California USA
  4. Earth Science DirectorateNASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt Maryland USA, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary CenterUniversity of Maryland College Park Maryland USA
  5. Scripps Institute of OceanographyUniversity of California San Diego La Jolla California USA
  6. Earth Science DirectorateNASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt Maryland USA, Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and ResearchUniversities Space Research Association Columbia Maryland USA
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1249953
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1261227; OSTI ID: 1409978
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-736933
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:  
DE‐AC52‐07NA27344; AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters Journal Volume: 43 Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES

Citation Formats

Yuan, Tianle, Oreopoulos, Lazaros, Zelinka, Mark, Yu, Hongbin, Norris, Joel R., Chin, Mian, Platnick, Steven, and Meyer, Kerry. Positive low cloud and dust feedbacks amplify tropical North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/2016GL067679.
Yuan, Tianle, Oreopoulos, Lazaros, Zelinka, Mark, Yu, Hongbin, Norris, Joel R., Chin, Mian, Platnick, Steven, & Meyer, Kerry. Positive low cloud and dust feedbacks amplify tropical North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. United States. doi:10.1002/2016GL067679.
Yuan, Tianle, Oreopoulos, Lazaros, Zelinka, Mark, Yu, Hongbin, Norris, Joel R., Chin, Mian, Platnick, Steven, and Meyer, Kerry. Thu . "Positive low cloud and dust feedbacks amplify tropical North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation". United States. doi:10.1002/2016GL067679.
@article{osti_1249953,
title = {Positive low cloud and dust feedbacks amplify tropical North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation},
author = {Yuan, Tianle and Oreopoulos, Lazaros and Zelinka, Mark and Yu, Hongbin and Norris, Joel R. and Chin, Mian and Platnick, Steven and Meyer, Kerry},
abstractNote = {The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is characterized by a horseshoe pattern of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and has a wide range of climatic impacts. While the tropical arm of AMO is responsible for many of these impacts, it is either too weak or completely absent in many climate model simulations. Here we show, using both observational and model evidence, that the radiative effect of positive low cloud and dust feedbacks is strong enough to generate the tropical arm of AMO, with the low cloud feedback more dominant. The feedbacks can be understood in a consistent dynamical framework: weakened tropical trade wind speed in response to a warm middle latitude SST anomaly reduces dust loading and low cloud fraction over the tropical Atlantic, which warms the tropical North Atlantic SST. Together they contribute to the appearance of the tropical arm of AMO. Most current climate models miss both the critical wind speed response and two positive feedbacks though realistic simulations of them may be essential for many climatic studies related to the AMO.},
doi = {10.1002/2016GL067679},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 3,
volume = 43,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1002/2016GL067679

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 15 works
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