Northern Hemisphere western boundary currents, like the Gulf Stream, are key regions for cyclogenesis affecting large-scale atmospheric circulation. Recent observations and model simulations with high-temporal and -spatial resolution have provided evidence that the associated ocean fronts locally affect troposphere dynamics. A coherent view of how this affects the mean climate and its variability is, however, lacking. In particular the separate role of resolved ocean and atmosphere dynamics in shaping the atmospheric circulation is still largely unknown. Here we demonstrate for the first time, by using coupled seasonal forecast experiments at different resolutions, that resolving meso-scale oceanic variability in the Gulf Stream region strongly affects mid-latitude interannual atmospheric variability, including the North Atlantic Oscillation. Its impact on climatology, however, is minor. Increasing atmosphere resolution to meso-scale, on the other hand, strongly affects mean climate but moderately its variability. We also find that regional predictability relies on adequately resolving small-scale atmospheric processes, while resolving small-scale oceanic processes acts as an unpredictable source of noise, except for the North Atlantic storm-track where the forcing of the atmosphere translates into skillful predictions.
R Haarsma, J Garcia-Serrano, C Prodhomme, O Bellprat, P Davini, S Drijfhout. Sensitivity of winter North Atlantic-European climate to resolved atmosphere and ocean dynamics
Status: published, Journal: Scientific Reports, Year: 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49865-9