Formation, mechanisms, and predictability of the Aleutian-Icelandic low seesaw in ensemble AGCM simulations

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Journal of Climate
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May 1
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The potential predictability associated with the remote influence of midlatitude tropospheric anomalies over the North Pacific or the North Atlantic via a seesawlike interannual oscillation between the surface Aleutian and Icelandic lows (AL and IL, respectively) is investigated. Data from a 24-member ensemble of 50-yr atmospheric general circulation model simulation forced with observed sea surface temperature (SST) conditions are analyzed by separating the total simulated fluctuations into the external component forced by the prescribed SST and the internal component generated by atmospheric internal dynamics. The AL-IL seesaw can be identified in both the external and internal components of the variability. In the external variability, determined through the ensemble mean, the seesaw is gradually formed from December to March through the development of a Pacific-North American (PNA) patternlike wave train, remotely forced by the El Ni (n) over tildeo-Southern Oscillation. The amplitudes of the externally forced North Atlantic anomalies are only about half as large as the North Pacific anomalies. The potential predictability of the Atlantic anomalies, defined as the ratio of the SST-forced variance to the total variance, does not exceed the 20% level. In the internal component of the variability, determined from the deviations of each ensemble member from the ensemble mean, the negative correlation between the AL and IL anomalies is modest but persistent through winter. It is confirmed that, regardless of the polarity of the AL-IL seesaw, the IL anomalies are formed through eastward wave activity propagation of the stationary Rossby wave train emanating from the AL region in the form of what may be called a '' PNAA pattern,'' the extension of the PNA-like wave train into the Atlantic. Thus, the midwinter development of North Pacific anomalies is found to be a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the seesaw formation. The persistence of the North Pacific anomalies beyond a 1-month time span appears to augment the probability of the seesaw formation by sustaining eastward wave activity propagation to the North Atlantic.


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