Category: Publications

Weakening of the Atlantic Niño variability under global warming

Crespo, L.R., Prigent, A., Keenlyside, N., Koseki, S., Svendsen, L., Richter, I., Sánchez-Gómez, E. 2022: Weakening of the Atlantic Niño variability under global warming. Nat. Clim. Chang. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01453-y

Summary: The Atlantic Niño is one of the most important patterns of interannual tropical climate variability, but how climate change will influence this pattern is not well known due to large climate model biases. Here we show that state-of-the-art climate models robustly predict a weakening of Atlantic Niños in response to global warming, mainly due to a decoupling of subsurface and surface temperature variations as the upper equatorial Atlantic Ocean warms. This weakening is predicted by most (>80%) models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phases 5 and 6 under the highest emission scenarios. Our results indicate a reduction in variability by the end of the century by 14%, and as much as 24–48% when accounting for model errors using a simple emergent constraint analysis. Such a weakening of Atlantic Niño variability will potentially impact climate conditions and the skill of seasonal predictions in many regions.

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Super-resolution data assimilation

Barthélémy, S., Brajard, J., Bertino, L., Counillon, F. 2022: Super-resolution data assimilation. Ocean Dyn. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-022-01523-x

Summary: Increasing model resolution can improve the performance of a data assimilation system because it reduces model error, the system can more optimally use high-resolution observations, and with an ensemble data assimilation method the forecast error covariances are improved. However, increasing the resolution scales with a cubical increase of the computational costs. A method that can more effectively improve performance is introduced here. The novel approach called “Super-resolution data assimilation” (SRDA) is inspired from super-resolution image processing techniques and brought to the data assimilation context. Starting from a low-resolution forecast, a neural network (NN) emulates the fields to high-resolution, assimilates high-resolution observations, and scales it back up to the original resolution for running the next model step. The SRDA is tested with a quasi-geostrophic model in an idealized twin experiment for configurations where the model resolution is twice and four times lower than the reference solution from which pseudo-observations are extracted. The assimilation is performed with an Ensemble Kalman Filter. We show that SRDA outperforms both the low-resolution data assimilation approach and a version of SRDA with cubic spline interpolation instead of NN. The NN’s ability to anticipate the systematic differences between low- and high-resolution model dynamics explains the enhanced performance, in particular by correcting the difference of propagation speed of eddies. With a 25-member ensemble at low resolution, the SRDA computational overhead is 55 percent and the errors reduce by 40 percent, making the performance very close to that of the high-resolution system (52 percent of error reduction) that increases the cost by 800 percent. The reliability of the ensemble system is not degraded by SRDA.

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Impact of initialization methods on the predictive skill in NorCPM: an Arctic–Atlantic case study

Passos, L., Langehaug, HR., Årthun, M., Eldevik, T., Bethke, I., Kimmritz, M. 2022: Impact of initialization methods on the predictive skill in NorCPM: an Arctic–Atlantic case study. Clim Dyn. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-022-06437-4

Summary: The skilful prediction of climatic conditions on a forecast horizon of months to decades into the future remains a main scientific challenge of large societal benefit. Here we assess the hindcast skill of the Norwegian Climate Prediction Model (NorCPM) for sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) in the Arctic–Atlantic region focusing on the impact of different initialization methods. We find the skill to be distinctly larger for the Subpolar North Atlantic than for the Norwegian Sea, and generally for all lead years analyzed. For the Subpolar North Atlantic, there is furthermore consistent benefit in increasing the amount of data assimilated, and also in updating the sea ice based on SST with strongly coupled data assimilation. The predictive skill is furthermore significant for at least two model versions up to 8–10 lead years with the exception for SSS at the longer lead years. For the Norwegian Sea, significant predictive skill is more rare; there is relatively higher skill with respect to SSS than for SST. A systematic benefit from more complex data assimilation approach can not be identified for this region. Somewhat surprisingly, skill deteriorates quite consistently for both the Subpolar North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea when going from CMIP5 to corresponding CMIP6 versions. We find this to relate to change in the regional performance of the underlying physical model that dominates the benefit from initialization.

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Mitigating climate biases in the mid-latitude North Atlantic by increasing model resolution: SST gradients and their relation to blocking and the jet

Athanasiadis, P.J., Ogawa, F., Omrani, N.-E., Keenlyside, N., Schiemann, R., Baker, A.J., Vidale, P.L., Bellucci, A., Ruggieri, P., Haarsma, R., Roberts, M., Roberts, C., Novak, L., Gualdi, S. 2022: Mitigating climate biases in the mid-latitude North Atlantic by increasing model resolution: SST gradients and their relation to blocking and the jet. J Clim. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-022-01523-x

Summary: Starting to resolve the oceanic mesoscale in climate models is a step change in model fidelity. This study examines how certain obstinate biases in the midlatitude North Atlantic respond to increasing resolution (from 1° to 0.25° in the ocean) and how such biases in sea surface temperature (SST) affect the atmosphere. Using a multi-model ensemble of historical climate simulations run at different horizontal resolutions, it is shown that a severe cold SST bias in the central North Atlantic, common to many ocean models, is significantly reduced with increasing resolution. The associated bias in the time-mean meridional SST gradient is shown to relate to a positive bias in low-level baroclinicity, while the cold SST bias causes biases also in static stability and diabatic heating in the interior of the atmosphere. The changes in baroclinicity and diabatic heating brought by increasing resolution lead to improvements in European blocking and eddy-driven jet variability. Across the multi-model ensemble a clear relationship is found between the climatological meridional SST gradients in the broader Gulf Stream Extension area and two aspects of the atmospheric circulation: the frequency of high-latitude blocking and the southern-jet regime. This relationship is thought to reflect the two-way interaction (with a positive feedback) between the respective oceanic and atmospheric anomalies. These North Atlantic SST anomalies are shown to be important in forcing significant responses in the midlatitude atmospheric circulation, including jet variability and the stormtrack. Further increases in oceanic and atmospheric resolution are expected to lead to additional improvements in the representation of Euro-Atlantic climate.

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Coupled stratosphere-troposphere-Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its importance for near-future climate projection

Omrani, NE., Keenlyside, N., Matthes, K., Boljka, L., Zanchettin, D., Jungclaus, JH., Lubis, SW. 2022: Coupled stratosphere-troposphere-Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its importance for near-future climate projection. npj Clim Atmos Sci. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41612-022-00275-1

Summary: Northern Hemisphere (NH) climate has experienced various coherent wintertime multidecadal climate trends in stratosphere, troposphere, ocean, and cryosphere. However, the overall mechanistic framework linking these trends is not well established. Here we show, using long-term transient forced coupled climate simulation, that large parts of the coherent NH-multidecadal changes can be understood within a damped coupled stratosphere/troposphere/ocean-oscillation framework. Wave-induced downward propagating positive stratosphere/troposphere-coupled Northern Annular Mode (NAM) and associated stratospheric cooling initiate delayed thermohaline strengthening of Atlantic overturning circulation and extratropical Atlantic-gyres. These increase the poleward oceanic heat transport leading to Arctic sea-ice melting, Arctic warming amplification, and large-scale Atlantic warming, which in turn initiates wave-induced downward propagating negative NAM and stratospheric warming and therefore reverse the oscillation phase. This coupled variability improves the performance of statistical models, which project further weakening of North Atlantic Oscillation, North Atlantic cooling and hiatus in wintertime North Atlantic-Arctic sea-ice and global surface temperature just like the 1950s–1970s.

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Recent Hadley Circulation Strengthening: A Trend or Multidecadal Variability?

Zaplotnik, Ž., M. Pikovnik, L. Boljka, L. 2022: Recent Hadley Circulation Strengthening: A Trend or Multidecadal Variability? J Clim. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-21-0204.1

Summary: This study explores the possible drivers of the recent Hadley circulation strengthening in the modern reanalyses. Predominantly, two recent generations of reanalyses provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts are used: the fifth-generation atmospheric reanalysis (ERA5) and the interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim). Some results are also evaluated against other long-term reanalyses. To assess the origins of the Hadley cell (HC) strength variability, we employ the Kuo–Eliassen (KE) equation. ERA5 shows that both HCs were strengthening prior to the 2000s, but they have been weakening or remained steady afterward. Most of the long-term variability in the strength of the HCs is explained by the meridional gradient of diabatic (latent) heating, which is related to precipitation gradients. However, the strengthening of both HCs in ERA5 is larger than the strengthening expected from the observed zonal-mean precipitation gradient [estimated from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)]. This suggests that the HC strength trends in the recent decades in ERA5 can be explained partly as an artifact of the misrepresentation of latent heating and partly through (physical) long-term variability. To show that the latter is true, we analyze ERA5 preliminary data for the 1950–78 period, other long-term (e.g., twentieth century) reanalyses, and sea surface temperature observational data. This reveals that the changes in the HC strength can be a consequence of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) and related diabatic and frictional processes, which in turn drive the global HC variability. This work has implications for further understanding of the long-term variability of the Hadley circulation.

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Metrics of the Hadley circulation strength and associated circulation trends

Pikovnik, M., Zaplotnik, Ž., Boljka, L., Žagar, N. 2022: Metrics of the Hadley circulation strength and associated circulation trends. Weather Clim Dynam. https://doi.org/10.5194/wcd-3-625-2022

Summary: This study compares trends in the Hadley cell (HC) strength using different metrics applied to the ECMWF ERA5 and ERA-Interim reanalyses for the period 1979–2018. The HC strength is commonly evaluated by metrics derived from the mass-weighted zonal-mean stream function in isobaric coordinates. Other metrics include the upper tropospheric velocity potential, the vertical velocity in the mid-troposphere, and the water vapour transport in the lower troposphere. Seven known metrics of HC strength are complemented here by a metric of the spatially averaged HC strength, obtained by averaging the stream function in the latitude–pressure (φp) plane, and by the total energy of zonal-mean unbalanced circulation in the normal-mode function decomposition. It is shown that metrics, which rely on single-point values in the φp plane, produce unreliable 40-year trends in both the northern and southern HCs, especially in ERA-Interim; magnitudes and even the signs of the trends depend on the choice of the HC strength metric. The two new metrics alleviate the vertical and meridional inhomogeneities of the trends in HC strength. The unbalanced energy metric suggests a positive HC trend in both reanalyses, whereas the metric based on averaging the stream function finds a significant positive trend only in ERA5.

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Skilful decadal-scale prediction of fish habitat and distribution shifts

Payne, M.R., Danabasoglu, G., Keenlyside, N., Matei, D., Miesner, A.K., Yang, S., Yeager, S.G. 2022: Skilful decadal-scale prediction of fish habitat and distribution shifts. Nat. Commun. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-30280-0

Summary: Many fish and marine organisms are responding to our planet’s changing climate by shifting their distribution. Such shifts can drive international conflicts and are highly problematic for the communities and businesses that depend on these living marine resources. Advances in climate prediction mean that in some regions the drivers of these shifts can be forecast up to a decade ahead, although forecasts of distribution shifts on this critical time-scale, while highly sought after by stakeholders, have yet to materialise. Here, we demonstrate the application of decadal-scale climate predictions to the habitat and distribution of marine fish species. We show statistically significant forecast skill of individual years that outperform baseline forecasts 3–10 years ahead; forecasts of multi-year averages perform even better, yielding correlation coefficients in excess of 0.90 in some cases. We also demonstrate that the habitat shifts underlying conflicts over Atlantic mackerel fishing rights could have been foreseen. Our results show that climate predictions can provide information of direct relevance to stakeholders on the decadal-scale. This tool will be critical in foreseeing, adapting to and coping with the challenges of a changing future climate, particularly in the most ocean-dependent nations and communities.

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Training a supermodel with noisy and sparse observations: a case study with CPT and the synch rule on SPEEDO – v.1

Schevenhoven, F., Carrassi, A. 2022: Training a supermodel with noisy and sparse observations: a case study with CPT and the synch rule on SPEEDO – v.1. Geosci. Model Dev. https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-15-3831-2022

Summary: As an alternative to using the standard multi-model ensemble (MME) approach to combine the output of different models to improve prediction skill, models can also be combined dynamically to form a so-called supermodel. The supermodel approach enables a quicker correction of the model errors. In this study we connect different versions of SPEEDO, a global atmosphere-ocean-land model of intermediate complexity, into a supermodel. We focus on a weighted supermodel, in which the supermodel state is a weighted superposition of different imperfect model states. The estimation, “the training”, of the optimal weights of this combination is a critical aspect in the construction of a supermodel. In our previous works two algorithms were developed: (i) cross pollination in time (CPT)-based technique and (ii) a synchronization-based learning rule (synch rule). Those algorithms have so far been applied under the assumption of complete and noise-free observations. Here we go beyond and consider the more realistic case of noisy data that do not cover the full system’s state and are not taken at each model’s computational time step. We revise the training methods to cope with this observational scenario, while still being able to estimate accurate weights. In the synch rule an additional term is introduced to maintain physical balances, while in CPT nudging terms are added to let the models stay closer to the observations during training. Furthermore, we propose a novel formulation of the CPT method allowing the weights to be negative. This makes it possible for CPT to deal with cases in which the individual model biases have the same sign, a situation that hampers constructing a skillfully weighted supermodel based on positive weights. With these developments, both CPT and the synch rule have been made suitable to train a supermodel consisting of state of the art weather and climate models.

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WMO Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update: A Prediction for 2021–25

Hermanson, L., Smith, D., Seabrook, M., Bilbao, R., Doblas-Reyes, F., Tourigny, E., Lapin, V., Kharin, V.V., Merryfield, W.J., Sospedra-Alfonso, R., Athanasiadis, P., Nicoli, D., Gualdi, S., Dunstone, N., Eade, R., Scaife, A., Collier, M., O’Kane, T., Kitsios, V., Sandery, P., Pankatz, K., Früh, B., Pohlmann, H., Müller, W., Kataoka, T., Tatebe, H., Ishii M., Imada, Y., Kruschke, T., Koenigk, T., Pasha Karami, M., Yang, S., Tian, T., Zhang, L., Delworth, T., Yang, X., Zeng, F., Wang, Y., Counillon, F., Keenlyside, N.S., Bethke, I., Lean, J., Luterbacher, J., Kumar Kolli, R., Kumar, A. 2022: WMO Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update: A Prediction for 2021–25. BAMS https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0311.1 .

Summary: As climate change accelerates, societies and climate-sensitive socioeconomic sectors cannot continue to rely on the past as a guide to possible future climate hazards. Operational decadal predictions offer the potential to inform current adaptation and increase resilience by filling the important gap between seasonal forecasts and climate projections. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recognized this and in 2017 established the WMO Lead Centre for Annual to Decadal Climate Predictions (shortened to “Lead Centre” below), which annually provides a large multimodel ensemble of predictions covering the next 5 years. This international collaboration produces a prediction that is more skillful and useful than any single center can achieve. One of the main outputs of the Lead Centre is the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update (GADCU), a consensus forecast based on these predictions. This update includes maps showing key variables, discussion on forecast skill, and predictions of climate indices such as the global mean near-surface temperature and Atlantic multidecadal variability. it also estimates the probability of the global mean temperature exceeding 1.5°C above preindustrial levels for at least 1 year in the next 5 years, which helps policy-makers understand how closely the world is approaching this goal of the Paris Agreement. This paper, written by the authors of the GADCU, introduces the GADCU, presents its key outputs, and briefly discusses its role in providing vital climate information for society now and in the future..

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