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Recent seasonal asymmetric changes in the NAO (a marked summer decline and increased winter variability) and associated changes in the AO and Greenland Blocking Index

Hanna, Edward, Cropper, Thomas, Jones, Philip D., Scaife, Adam A. and Allan, Rob 2015. Recent seasonal asymmetric changes in the NAO (a marked summer decline and increased winter variability) and associated changes in the AO and Greenland Blocking Index. International Journal of Climatology 35 (9) , pp. 2540-2554. 10.1002/joc.4157

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Abstract

Recent changes are found in the means and variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index. There has been a sustained significant recent decrease in the summer NAO since the 1990s and, at the same time, a striking increase in variability of the winter – especially December – NAO that resulted in three of five (two of five) record high (record low) NAO Decembers occurring during 2004–2013 in the 115-year record. These NAO changes are related to an increasing trend in the Greenland Blocking Index (GBI, high pressure over Greenland) in summer and a more variable GBI in December. The enhanced early winter NAO variability originates mainly at the southern node of the NAO but is also related to the more variable GBI in December. Transition seasons (spring and autumn) have remained relatively unchanged over the last 30 years. These results are corroborated using several NAO indices. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) index, although strongly correlated with the NAO, does not show the recent sustained significant summer decrease, but it does show enhanced early winter variability. These recent observed changes are not present in the current generation of global climate models, although the latest process studies do offer insight into their causes. We invoke several plausible climate forcings and feedbacks to explain the recent NAO changes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Royal Meteorological Society
ISSN: 0899-8418
Date of Acceptance: 13 August 2014
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2019 02:27
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/91579

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