skip to main content

Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
Add to Cal
South Mudd 365
Changing Atmospheric Teleconnection Patterns over the North Pacific
Clara Deser, National Center for Atmospheric Research,

While much attention has been given to understanding how anthropogenic radiative forcing influences the mean state of the climate system, far less scrutiny has been paid to how it may modulate naturally occurring modes of variability. In this study, we investigate anthropogenic influences on natural modes of wintertime atmospheric circulation variability (aka "teleconnection patterns") over the North Pacific and their associated impacts on precipitation over North America. Our results are based on the Community Earth System Model 40-member Large Ensemble during 1920-2100. Each simulation is subject to the same radiative forcing protocol but starts from a slightly different initial condition, leading to different sequences of natural variability. Evolving forced changes in the amplitude and spatial character of the leading atmospheric teleconnection patterns are determined by applying Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis across the ensemble dimension at each time step. The results show that these natural modes of circulation variability intensify and expand their region of influence in response to anthropogenic forcing, with concomitant impacts on precipitation. Linkages between the Pacific and Atlantic, and between the tropics and extratropics, are also enhanced in the future. These projected changes are driven partly by teleconnections from amplified ENSO (El Nino) activity and partly by dynamical processes intrinsic to the extra-tropical atmosphere. The marked influence of anthropogenic forcing on the characteristics of internal extratropical atmospheric circulation variability presents fundamental societal challenges to future water resource planning, flood control, and drought mitigation.

For more information, please contact Bronagh Glaser by email at [email protected] or visit Environmental Science and Engineering.