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Predictability and numerical modelling of the North Atlantic Oscillation

Domenii publicaţii > Ştiinţele pământului şi planetare + Tipuri publicaţii > Articol în revistã ştiinţificã

Autori: Bojariu, R. and L. Gimeno

Editorial: Earth-Science Reviews, doi:10.1016/S0012-8252(03)00036-9, 2003.


The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is the dominant pattern of atmospheric circulation variability in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere and it is a major controlling factor in basic meteorological variables such as surface wind, temperature and precipitation which have large socioeconomic impacts on energy, agriculture, industry, traffic and human health throughout the whole of Europe and eastern North America. Because of this dominant impact on the weather and climate of the wealthiest areas of the planet, there is a growing interest in quantifying the possible limits of predictability of the phenomenon and the ability of the climate numerical models of simulating it. This paper reviews recent work on predictability and methods of numerical modelling of the North Atlantic Oscillation used to simulate the phenomenon.

Atmospheric models with no orography or land-sea contrasts are able to capture the main feature of the NAO; however, to capture any interannual or interdecadal variability of the NAO, atmospheric general circulation models (AGCM) with seasonally varying sea surface temperature (SSTs) forcing are required. Still, no model reproduces the recent observed upward trend in the NAO index, suggesting that either the models are deficient or external forcing such as man-made effects are responsible for this feature.

Predictive patterns have been identified in the Atlantic SSTs preceding specific phases of the NAO by up to 6 months, in the atmospheric temperatures anomalies in the previous November, in the Eurasian snow cover and in the sea-ice extent over Arctic. The use of simulations based on ensemble prediction to estimate potential predictability shows the possibility of capturing the upward trend of the NAO and suggests that multiannual to multidecadal variations in the NAO are more predictable than interannual fluctuations.

Cuvinte cheie: oscilatia nord-atlantica, configuratii predictive, variabilitate climatica, modelare numerica // North Atlantic Oscillation; NAO; Numerical modelling; Predictive patterns; Climate variability