New observational evidence for a positive cloud feedback that amplifies the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

Katinka Bellomo, Amy C Clement, Lisa N. Murphy, Lorenzo M. Polvani, Mark A. Cane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) affects climate variability in the North Atlantic basin and adjacent continents with potential societal impacts. Previous studies based on model simulations and short-term satellite retrievals hypothesized an important role for cloud radiative forcing in modulating the persistence of the AMO in the tropics, but this mechanism remains to be tested with long-term observational records. Here we analyze data sets that span multiple decades and present new observational evidence for a positive feedback between total cloud amount, sea surface temperature (SST), and atmospheric circulation that can strengthen the persistence and amplitude of the tropical branch of the AMO. In addition, we estimate cloud amount feedback from observations and quantify its impact on SST with idealized modeling experiments. From these experiments we conclude that cloud feedbacks can account for 10% to 31% of the observed SST anomalies associated with the AMO over the tropics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9852-9859
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume43
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 28 2016

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Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation
sea surface temperature
oscillations
tropical regions
persistence
cloud radiative forcing
radiative forcing
atmospheric circulation
positive feedback
continents
temperature anomaly
climate
retrieval
experiment
anomalies
estimates
basin
modeling
simulation
tropics

Keywords

  • Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

New observational evidence for a positive cloud feedback that amplifies the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. / Bellomo, Katinka; Clement, Amy C; Murphy, Lisa N.; Polvani, Lorenzo M.; Cane, Mark A.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, No. 18, 28.09.2016, p. 9852-9859.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bellomo, Katinka ; Clement, Amy C ; Murphy, Lisa N. ; Polvani, Lorenzo M. ; Cane, Mark A. / New observational evidence for a positive cloud feedback that amplifies the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2016 ; Vol. 43, No. 18. pp. 9852-9859.
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