The impact of internal atmospheric variability on North Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) variability is examined based on three coupled general circulation model simulations. The three simulations differ only in the level of atmospheric noise occuring over the ocean at the air-sea interface. The amplitude of atmospheric noise is controlled by use of the interactive ensemble technique. This technique simultaneously couples multiple realizations of a single atmospheric model to a single realization of an ocean model. The atmospheric component models all experience the same SST, but the ocean component is forced by the ensemble averaged fluxes thereby reducing the impact of internal atmospheric dynamics at the air-sea interface. The ensemble averaging is only applied at the air-sea interface so that the internal atmospheric dynamics (i.e., transients) of each atmospheric ensemble member is unaffected. This interactive ensemble technique significantly reduces the SST variance throughout the North Pacific. The reduction in SST variance is proportional to the number of ensemble members indicating that most of the variability can simply be explained as the response to atmospheric stochastic forcing. In addition, the impact of the internal atmospheric dynamics at the air-sea interface masks out much of the tropical-midlatitude SST teleconnections on interannual time scales. Once this interference is reduced (i.e., applying the interactive ensemble technique), tropical-midlatitude SST teleconnections are easily detected.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science