Atmospheric blocking and Atlantic multidecadal ocean variability

  • Häkkinen S
  • Rhines P
  • Worthen D
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Abstract

Atmospheric blocking over the northern North Atlantic involves isolation of large regions of air from the westerly circulation for 5-14 days or more. From a recent 20th century atmospheric reanalysis (1,2) winters with more frequent blocking persist over several decades and correspond to a warm North Atlantic Ocean, in-phase with Atlantic multi-decadal ocean variability (AMV). Ocean circulation is forced by wind-stress curl and related air/sea heat exchange, and we find that their space-time structure is associated with dominant blocking patterns: weaker ocean gyres and weaker heat exchange contribute to the warm phase of AMV. Increased blocking activity extending from Greenland to British Isles is evident when winter blocking days of the cold years (1900-1929) are subtracted from those of the warm years (1939-1968).

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Authors

  • Sirpa Häkkinen

  • Peter B. Rhines

  • Denise L. Worthen

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