Yeager Stephen G.

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Stephen G.

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  • Article
    Variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in CCSM4
    (American Meteorological Society, 2012-08-01) Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Tribbia, Joseph J. ; Phillips, Adam S. ; Hurrell, James W.
    Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) variability is documented in the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) preindustrial control simulation that uses nominal 1° horizontal resolution in all its components. AMOC shows a broad spectrum of low-frequency variability covering the 50–200-yr range, contrasting sharply with the multidecadal variability seen in the T85 × 1 resolution CCSM3 present-day control simulation. Furthermore, the amplitude of variability is much reduced in CCSM4 compared to that of CCSM3. Similarities as well as differences in AMOC variability mechanisms between CCSM3 and CCSM4 are discussed. As in CCSM3, the CCSM4 AMOC variability is primarily driven by the positive density anomalies at the Labrador Sea (LS) deep-water formation site, peaking 2 yr prior to an AMOC maximum. All processes, including parameterized mesoscale and submesoscale eddies, play a role in the creation of salinity anomalies that dominate these density anomalies. High Nordic Sea densities do not necessarily lead to increased overflow transports because the overflow physics is governed by source and interior region density differences. Increased overflow transports do not lead to a higher AMOC either but instead appear to be a precursor to lower AMOC transports through enhanced stratification in LS. This has important implications for decadal prediction studies. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is significantly correlated with the positive boundary layer depth and density anomalies prior to an AMOC maximum. This suggests a role for NAO through setting the surface flux anomalies in LS and affecting the subpolar gyre circulation strength.
  • Article
    Amplified seasonal cycle in hydroclimate over the Amazon river basin and its plume region
    (Nature Research, 2020-09-01) Liang, Yu-Chiao ; Lo, Min-Hui ; Lan, Chia-Wei ; Seo, Hyodae ; Ummenhofer, Caroline C. ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Wu, Ren-Jie ; Steffen, John D.
    The Amazon river basin receives ~2000 mm of precipitation annually and contributes ~17% of global river freshwater input to the oceans; its hydroclimatic variations can exert profound impacts on the marine ecosystem in the Amazon plume region (APR) and have potential far-reaching influences on hydroclimate over the tropical Atlantic. Here, we show that an amplified seasonal cycle of Amazonia precipitation, represented by the annual difference between maximum and minimum values, during the period 1979–2018, leads to enhanced seasonalities in both Amazon river discharge and APR ocean salinity. An atmospheric moisture budget analysis shows that these enhanced seasonal cycles are associated with similar amplifications in the atmospheric vertical and horizontal moisture advections. Hierarchical sensitivity experiments using global climate models quantify the relationships of these enhanced seasonalities. The results suggest that an intensified hydroclimatological cycle may develop in the Amazonia atmosphere-land-ocean coupled system, favouring more extreme terrestrial and marine conditions.
  • Article
    Impacts of Arctic sea ice on cold season atmospheric variability and trends estimated from observations and a multimodel large ensemble
    (American Meteorological Society, 2021-09-24) Liang, Yu-Chiao ; Frankignoul, Claude ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Gastineau, Guillaume ; Manzini, Elisa ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Suo, Lingling ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Gao, Yongqi ; Attema, Jisk J. ; Cherchi, Annalisa ; Ghosh, Rohit ; Matei, Daniela ; Mecking, Jennifer V. ; Tian, Tian ; Zhang, Ying
    To examine the atmospheric responses to Arctic sea ice variability in the Northern Hemisphere cold season (from October to the following March), this study uses a coordinated set of large-ensemble experiments of nine atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) forced with observed daily varying sea ice, sea surface temperature, and radiative forcings prescribed during the 1979–2014 period, together with a parallel set of experiments where Arctic sea ice is substituted by its climatology. The simulations of the former set reproduce the near-surface temperature trends in reanalysis data, with similar amplitude, and their multimodel ensemble mean (MMEM) shows decreasing sea level pressure over much of the polar cap and Eurasia in boreal autumn. The MMEM difference between the two experiments allows isolating the effects of Arctic sea ice loss, which explain a large portion of the Arctic warming trends in the lower troposphere and drive a small but statistically significant weakening of the wintertime Arctic Oscillation. The observed interannual covariability between sea ice extent in the Barents–Kara Seas and lagged atmospheric circulation is distinguished from the effects of confounding factors based on multiple regression, and quantitatively compared to the covariability in MMEMs. The interannual sea ice decline followed by a negative North Atlantic Oscillation–like anomaly found in observations is also seen in the MMEM differences, with consistent spatial structure but much smaller amplitude. This result suggests that the sea ice impacts on trends and interannual atmospheric variability simulated by AGCMs could be underestimated, but caution is needed because internal atmospheric variability may have affected the observed relationship.
  • Article
    Mechanisms governing interannual variability of upper-ocean temperature in a global ocean hindcast simulation
    (American Meteorological Society, 2007-07) Doney, Scott C. ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Large, William G. ; McWilliams, James C.
    The interannual variability in upper-ocean (0–400 m) temperature and governing mechanisms for the period 1968–97 are quantified from a global ocean hindcast simulation driven by atmospheric reanalysis and satellite data products. The unconstrained simulation exhibits considerable skill in replicating the observed interannual variability in vertically integrated heat content estimated from hydrographic data and monthly satellite sea surface temperature and sea surface height data. Globally, the most significant interannual variability modes arise from El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean zonal mode, with substantial extension beyond the Tropics into the midlatitudes. In the well-stratified Tropics and subtropics, net annual heat storage variability is driven predominately by the convergence of the advective heat transport, mostly reflecting velocity anomalies times the mean temperature field. Vertical velocity variability is caused by remote wind forcing, and subsurface temperature anomalies are governed mostly by isopycnal displacements (heave). The dynamics at mid- to high latitudes are qualitatively different and vary regionally. Interannual temperature variability is more coherent with depth because of deep winter mixing and variations in western boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that span the upper thermocline. Net annual heat storage variability is forced by a mixture of local air–sea heat fluxes and the convergence of the advective heat transport, the latter resulting from both velocity and temperature anomalies. Also, density-compensated temperature changes on isopycnal surfaces (spice) are quantitatively significant.
  • Article
    Local and downstream relationships between Labrador Sea Water volume and North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation variability
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-07-11) Li, Feili ; Lozier, M. Susan ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Holliday, Naomi Penny ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Romanou, Anastasia ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Zhang, Rong
    While it has generally been understood that the production of Labrador Sea Water (LSW) impacts the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), this relationship has not been explored extensively or validated against observations. To explore this relationship, a suite of global ocean–sea ice models forced by the same interannually varying atmospheric dataset, varying in resolution from non-eddy-permitting to eddy-permitting (1°–1/4°), is analyzed to investigate the local and downstream relationships between LSW formation and the MOC on interannual to decadal time scales. While all models display a strong relationship between changes in the LSW volume and the MOC in the Labrador Sea, this relationship degrades considerably downstream of the Labrador Sea. In particular, there is no consistent pattern among the models in the North Atlantic subtropical basin over interannual to decadal time scales. Furthermore, the strong response of the MOC in the Labrador Sea to LSW volume changes in that basin may be biased by the overproduction of LSW in many models compared to observations. This analysis shows that changes in LSW volume in the Labrador Sea cannot be clearly and consistently linked to a coherent MOC response across latitudes over interannual to decadal time scales in ocean hindcast simulations of the last half century. Similarly, no coherent relationships are identified between the MOC and the Labrador Sea mixed layer depth or the density of newly formed LSW across latitudes or across models over interannual to decadal time scales.
  • Article
    Decadal predictability of North Atlantic blocking and the NAO
    (Nature Research, 2020-06-03) Athanasiadis, Panos J. ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Bellucci, Alessio ; Smith, David W. ; Tibaldi, Stefano
    Can multi-annual variations in the frequency of North Atlantic atmospheric blocking and mid-latitude circulation regimes be skilfully predicted? Recent advances in seasonal forecasting have shown that mid-latitude climate variability does exhibit significant predictability. However, atmospheric predictability has generally been found to be quite limited on multi-annual timescales. New decadal prediction experiments from NCAR are found to exhibit remarkable skill in reproducing the observed multi-annual variations of wintertime blocking frequency over the North Atlantic and of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) itself. This is partly due to the large ensemble size that allows the predictable component of the atmospheric variability to emerge from the background chaotic component. The predictable atmospheric anomalies represent a forced response to oceanic low-frequency variability that strongly resembles the Atlantic Multi-decadal Variability (AMV), correctly reproduced in the decadal hindcasts thanks to realistic ocean initialization and ocean dynamics. The occurrence of blocking in certain areas of the Euro-Atlantic domain determines the concurrent circulation regime and the phase of known teleconnections, such as the NAO, consequently affecting the stormtrack and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Therefore, skilfully predicting the decadal fluctuations of blocking frequency and the NAO may be used in statistical predictions of near-term climate anomalies, and it provides a strong indication that impactful climate anomalies may also be predictable with improved dynamical models.
  • Article
    A review of the role of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in Atlantic multidecadal variability and associated climate impacts
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-04-29) Zhang, Rong ; Sutton, Rowan ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Marsh, Robert ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Amrhein, Daniel E. ; Little, Christopher M.
    By synthesizing recent studies employing a wide range of approaches (modern observations, paleo reconstructions, and climate model simulations), this paper provides a comprehensive review of the linkage between multidecadal Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) variability and Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV) and associated climate impacts. There is strong observational and modeling evidence that multidecadal AMOC variability is a crucial driver of the observed AMV and associated climate impacts and an important source of enhanced decadal predictability and prediction skill. The AMOC‐AMV linkage is consistent with observed key elements of AMV. Furthermore, this synthesis also points to a leading role of the AMOC in a range of AMV‐related climate phenomena having enormous societal and economic implications, for example, Intertropical Convergence Zone shifts; Sahel and Indian monsoons; Atlantic hurricanes; El Niño–Southern Oscillation; Pacific Decadal Variability; North Atlantic Oscillation; climate over Europe, North America, and Asia; Arctic sea ice and surface air temperature; and hemispheric‐scale surface temperature. Paleoclimate evidence indicates that a similar linkage between multidecadal AMOC variability and AMV and many associated climate impacts may also have existed in the preindustrial era, that AMV has enhanced multidecadal power significantly above a red noise background, and that AMV is not primarily driven by external forcing. The role of the AMOC in AMV and associated climate impacts has been underestimated in most state‐of‐the‐art climate models, posing significant challenges but also great opportunities for substantial future improvements in understanding and predicting AMV and associated climate impacts.
  • Article
    Quantification of the arctic sea ice-driven atmospheric circulation variability in coordinated large ensemble simulations
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-12-26) Liang, Yu‐Chiao ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Frankignoul, Claude ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Yeager, Stephen G. ; Cherchi, Annalisa ; Gao, Yongqi ; Gastineau, Guillaume ; Ghosh, Rohit ; Matei, Daniela ; Mecking, Jennifer V. ; Peano, Daniele ; Suo, Lingling ; Tian, Tian
    A coordinated set of large ensemble atmosphere‐only simulations is used to investigate the impacts of observed Arctic sea ice‐driven variability (SIDV) on the atmospheric circulation during 1979–2014. The experimental protocol permits separating Arctic SIDV from internal variability and variability driven by other forcings including sea surface temperature and greenhouse gases. The geographic pattern of SIDV is consistent across seven participating models, but its magnitude strongly depends on ensemble size. Based on 130 members, winter SIDV is ~0.18 hPa2 for Arctic‐averaged sea level pressure (~1.5% of the total variance), and ~0.35 K2 for surface air temperature (~21%) at interannual and longer timescales. The results suggest that more than 100 (40) members are needed to separate Arctic SIDV from other components for dynamical (thermodynamical) variables, and insufficient ensemble size always leads to overestimation of SIDV. Nevertheless, SIDV is 0.75–1.5 times as large as the variability driven by other forcings over northern Eurasia and Arctic.
  • Article
    Mean biases, variability, and trends in air–sea fluxes and sea surface temperature in the CCSM4
    (American Meteorological Society, 2012-11-15) Bates, Susan C. ; Fox-Kemper, Baylor ; Jayne, Steven R. ; Large, William G. ; Stevenson, Samantha ; Yeager, Stephen G.
    Air–sea fluxes from the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) are compared with the Coordinated Ocean-Ice Reference Experiment (CORE) dataset to assess present-day mean biases, variability errors, and late twentieth-century trend differences. CCSM4 is improved over the previous version, CCSM3, in both air–sea heat and freshwater fluxes in some regions; however, a large increase in net shortwave radiation into the ocean may contribute to an enhanced hydrological cycle. The authors provide a new baseline for assessment of flux variance at annual and interannual frequency bands in future model versions and contribute a new metric for assessing the coupling between the atmospheric and oceanic planetary boundary layer (PBL) schemes of any climate model. Maps of the ratio of CCSM4 variance to CORE reveal that variance on annual time scales has larger error than on interannual time scales and that different processes cause errors in mean, annual, and interannual frequency bands. Air temperature and specific humidity in the CCSM4 atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) follow the sea surface conditions much more closely than is found in CORE. Sensible and latent heat fluxes are less of a negative feedback to sea surface temperature warming in the CCSM4 than in the CORE data with the model’s PBL allowing for more heating of the ocean’s surface.
  • Article
    The CCSM4 ocean component
    (American Meteorological Society, 2012-03-01) Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Bates, Susan C. ; Briegleb, Bruce P. ; Jayne, Steven R. ; Jochum, Markus ; Large, William G. ; Peacock, Synte ; Yeager, Stephen G.
    The ocean component of the Community Climate System Model version 4 (CCSM4) is described, and its solutions from the twentieth-century (20C) simulations are documented in comparison with observations and those of CCSM3. The improvements to the ocean model physical processes include new parameterizations to represent previously missing physics and modifications of existing parameterizations to incorporate recent new developments. In comparison with CCSM3, the new solutions show some significant improvements that can be attributed to these model changes. These include a better equatorial current structure, a sharper thermocline, and elimination of the cold bias of the equatorial cold tongue all in the Pacific Ocean; reduced sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity biases along the North Atlantic Current path; and much smaller potential temperature and salinity biases in the near-surface Pacific Ocean. Other improvements include a global-mean SST that is more consistent with the present-day observations due to a different spinup procedure from that used in CCSM3. Despite these improvements, many of the biases present in CCSM3 still exist in CCSM4. A major concern continues to be the substantial heat content loss in the ocean during the preindustrial control simulation from which the 20C cases start. This heat loss largely reflects the top of the atmospheric model heat loss rate in the coupled system, and it essentially determines the abyssal ocean potential temperature biases in the 20C simulations. There is also a deep salty bias in all basins. As a result of this latter bias in the deep North Atlantic, the parameterized overflow waters cannot penetrate much deeper than in CCSM3.