Ocean–Atmosphere Interactions in the Tropical and Subtropical Atlantic Ocean
Journal of Climate
A 110-yr simulation is conducted using a specially designed coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model that only allows air-sea interaction over the Atlantic Ocean within 30°S-60°N. Since the influence from the Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) over the Atlantic is removed in this run, it provides a better view of the extratropical influences on the tropical air-sea interaction within the Atlantic sector. The model results are compared with the observations that also have
... ENSO components subtracted. The model reproduces the two major anomalous patterns of the sea surface temperature (SST) in the southern subtropical Atlantic (SSA) and the northern tropical Atlantic (NTA) Ocean. The SSA pattern is phase locked to the annual cycle. Its enhancement in austral summer is associated with atmospheric disturbances from the South Atlantic during late austral spring. The extratropical atmospheric disturbances induce anomalous trade winds and surface heat fluxes in its northern flank, which generate SST anomalies in the subtropics during austral summer. The forced SST anomalies then change the local sea level pressure and winds, which in turn affect the northward shift of the atmospheric disturbance and cause further SST changes in the deep Tropics during austral fall. The NTA pattern is significant throughout a year. Like the SSA pattern, the NTA pattern in boreal winter-spring is usually associated with the heat flux change caused by extratropical atmospheric disturbances, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. The SST anomalies then feed back with the tropical atmosphere and expand equatorward. From summer to fall, however, the NTA SST anomalies are likely to persist within the subtropics for more than one season after it is generated. Our model results suggest that this feature is associated with a local feedback between the NTA SST anomalies and the atmospheric subtropical anticyclone from late boreal summer to early winter. The significance of this potential feedback in reality needs to be further examined with more observational evidence.