Weather regime transitions and the interannual variability of the north atlantic oscillation. Part II: Dynamical processes

Dehai Luo, Jing Cha, Steven B. Feldstein

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16 Scopus citations


In this study, attention is focused on identifying the dynamical processes that contribute to the negativeNorth Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) - to positive NAO (NAO +) and NAO + to NAO - transitions that occur during 1978-90 (P1) and 1991-2008 (P2). By constructing Atlantic ridge (AR) and Scandinavian blocking (SBL) indices, the composite analysis demonstrates that in a strongerAR(SBL) winterNAO - (NAO +) event canmore easily transition into an NAO + (NAO -) event. Composites of 300-hPa geopotential height anomalies for the NAO - toNAO + andNAO + toNAO - transition events during P1 and P2 are calculated. It is shown for P2 (P1) that the NAO + to SBL to NAO - (NAO - to AR to NAO +) transition results from the retrograde drift of an enhanced high-latitude, large-scale, positive (negative) anomaly over northern Europe during the decay of the previous NAO + (NAO -) event. This finding cannot be detected for NAO events without transition. Moreover, it is found that the amplification of retrogradingwavenumber 1 ismore important for theNAO - to NAO + transition during P1, but themarked reintensification and retrogrademovement of both wavenumbers 1 and 2 after the NAO + event decays is crucial for the NAO + to NAO - transition during P2. It is further shown that destructive (constructive) interference between wavenumbers 1 and 2 over the North Atlantic during P1 (P2) is responsible for the subsequent weak NAO + (strong NAO -) anomaly associated with the NAO - to NAO + (NAO + to NAO -) transition. Also, the weakening (strengthening) of the vertically integrated zonal wind (upstream Atlantic storm track) is found to play an important role in the NAO regime transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2347-2363
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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