DOE sponsored research has advanced our understanding of how much climate variability is due to interactions between different components of the climate system, e.g., between oceans and the atmosphere, and how much is random, due to weather perturbations. In an article just published in the Geophysical Research Letters, Kirtman et al. (2009) present a methodology for separating these two types of variability that can be applied at the air-sea, air-land, air-ice, or ice-ocean interfaces. Focusing on the air-sea interface and the widely used Community Climate System Model, the researchers find that coupled ocean-atmosphere feedbacks contribute to a significant fraction of the sea surface temperature variability worldwide. These feedbacks are also shown to have particular prominence in the tropics. These new results provide scientists with an improved tool for understanding how events in one region of the globe, such as the tropics, impact climate in distant regions.
Reference: Kirtman, B. P., D. M. Straus, D. Min, E. K. Schneider and L. Siqueira, 2009: Toward Linking Weather and Climate in the Interactive Ensemble NCAR Climate Model, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L13705, doi:10.1029/2009GL038389.
Contact: Renu Joseph and Anjuli Bamzai, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0294
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