Climate Response to Anomalously Large and Small Atlantic Warm Pools during the Summer

Chunzai Wang, Sang-Ki Lee, David B. Enfield
2008 Journal of Climate  
This paper uses the NCAR Community Atmospheric Model to show the influence of Atlantic warm pool (AWP) variability on the summer climate and Atlantic hurricane activity. The model runs show that the climate response to the AWP's heating extends beyond the AWP region to other regions such as the eastern North Pacific. Both the sea level pressure and precipitation display a significant response of low (high) pressure and increased (decreased) rainfall to an anomalously large (small) AWP, in areas
more » ... mall) AWP, in areas with two centers located in the western tropical North Atlantic and in the eastern North Pacific. The rainfall response suggests that an anomalously large (small) AWP suppresses (enhances) the midsummer drought, a phenomenon with a diminution in rainfall during July and August in the region around Central America. In response to the pressure changes, the easterly Caribbean low-level jet is weakened (strengthened), as is its westward moisture transport. An anomalously large (small) AWP weakens (strengthens) the southerly Great Plains low-level jet, which results in reduced (enhanced) northward moisture transport from the Gulf of Mexico to the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and thus decreases (increases) the summer rainfall over the central United States, in agreement with observations. An anomalously large (small) AWP also reduces (enhances) the tropospheric vertical wind shear in the main hurricane development region and increases (decreases) the moist static instability of the troposphere, both of which favor (disfavor) the intensification of tropical storms into major hurricanes. Since the climate response to the North Atlantic SST anomalies is primarily forced at low latitudes, this study implies that reduced (enhanced) rainfall over North America and increased (decreased) hurricane activity due to the warm (cool) phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation may be partly due to the AWP-induced changes of the northward moisture transport and the vertical wind shear and moist static instability associated with more frequent large (small) summer warm pools.
doi:10.1175/2007jcli2029.1 fatcat:ntegmzmglne4zlc3fbquehemxm