Section 1   Atmosphere

2. Ocean   Circulation

3. Annual   Cycle

4. The Coupled   Tropics (ENSO)

5. The Coupled   Tropics   (decadal)

6. Coupling in Tropics  vs. Midlatitudes  

7. Basic Coupling in  the Midlatitudes

8 SST vs.   heat flux   forcing

9. Exotic Midlatitude   Coupled Modes

Useful Books


ATM S 560 / OCN 560 , Spring Quarter 2001
Coupled Atmosphere - Ocean Interactions
Part I: The Mean Climate Part II: Tropical Atmosphere/Ocean Interaction Part III: Midlatitude Variability Part III: Midlatitude Variability


The papers that are marked by a BULLET are the papers that we will read. At times we will bring in material from additional papers; these papers are indicated by the symbol î.

Part I: The Climatology of the Global Atmosphere and Ocean

1. The zonally averaged circulation of the atmosphere

James, Ian N. , 1994: Introduction to circulating atmospheres Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 422 p. (chapter 4)

Held, Isaac M., Arthur Y. Hou, 1980: Nonlinear Axially Symmetric Circulations in a Nearly Inviscid Atmosphere. J. Atmos. Sci.: Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 515-533.

Holton, J.R., 1992: Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, third edition. Academic Press, London, 511pp.

Igersol, A. 2001

2. The Ocean Circulation: an inevitable fallout

2a. Wind Driven

Cushman-Roisin, Benoit, 1994: Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Pedlosky, Joseph, 1987: Geophysical fluid dynamics. Spinger. New York.

Pedlosky, Joseph, 1996: Ocean circulation theory. Spinger. New York.

Stommel, Henry M., 1958 (also 1976): The Gulf Stream : a physical and dynamical description. University of California Press, Berkeley.

2b. Thermohaline

2c. Feedback to the atmosphere: passive and active coupling

In Class Notes.

3. A zero-order look at the annual cycle of surface temperature and circulation Class Notes.

To be announced.

Part II: Climate Variability: the Tropics

4. ENSO: the one clear example of active atmosphere-ocean interaction

4a Observations of ENSO

Cane, M.A., 1983: Oceanographic events during El Niño. Science, 222, 1189-1195.

Deser, C., 1989: Meteorological Characteristics of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation Phenomenon. Ph.D. thesis. Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle WA, 195 pp.

Deser, C., and J. M. Wallace, 1990: Large-scale atmospheric circulation features of warm and cold episodes in the tropical Pacific. Niño/Southern J. Climate, 3, 1254-1281.

Harrison, D.E. and N. K. Larkin, 1998: El Nino-Southern Oscillation Sea Surface Temperature and Wind Anomalies, 1946-1993. Rev. Geophys., 36, 353-399.

Rasmusson, E.M. and T.H. Carpenter, 1982: Variations in tropical sea surface temperatures and surface wind fields associated with the Southern Oscillation and El Niño. Mon. Wea. Rev., 110, 354-384.

Rasmusson, E.M. and J.M. Wallace, 1983: Meteorological aspects of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Science, 222, 1195-1202.

Wallace, J. M., E. M. Rasmusson, T. P. Mitchell, V. E. Kousky, E. S. Sarachik, and H. v. Storch, 1998: On the structure and evolution of ENSO-related climate variability in the tropical Pacific: Lessons from TOGA. J. Geophys. Res., 103, 14241-59.

Yulaeva, E. and J. M. Wallace, 1994: The signature of ENSO in global temperature and precipitation fields derived from the microwave sounding unit J. Climate, 11, 1719-1736.

4b Overview of atmospheric response to changes in tropical SST

Battisti, D. S., E. S. Sarachik and A. C. Hirst: A Consistent Model for Large the Steady Atmospheric Surface Circulation in the Tropics. J. Climate, .

Chiang, J. C. H., S. E. Zebiak, and M. A. Cane, 2000: On the relative roles of elevated heating and surface temperature gradients in driving anomalous surface winds over tropical oceans. J. Atmos. Sci.,

Gill, A.E., 1980: Some simple solutions for heat-induced tropical circulation. Quart. J. R. Met. Soc., 106, 447-462.

Gill, A.E., and E.M. Rasmusson, 1984: The 1982-83 climate anomaly in the equatorial Pacific. Nature, 306, 229-234.

Lindzen, R.S., and S. Nigam, 1987: On the role of sea surface temperature gradients in forcing low level winds and convergence in the tropics. J. Atmos. Sci., 44, 2418-2436.

Matsuno, T., 1966: Quasi-geostrophic motions in the equatorial area. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 44, 25-43.

Neelin, J.D., 1989: A note on the interpretation of the Gill model. J. Atmos. Sci., 46, 2466-2468.

Sardeshmukh, P.D. and B.J. Hoskins, 1985: Vorticity balances in the tropics during the 1982-1983 El Niño-Southern Oscillation event. Quart. J. R. Met. Soc., 111, 261-278.

ebiak, S.E., 1986: Atmospheric convergence feedback in a simple model for El Niño. J. Atmos. Sci., 114, 1263-1271.

4c Overview of ocean response to changes in tropic wind forcing

Bigg, G.R., and J.R. Blundell, 1989: The equatorial Pacific Ocean prior to and during El Niño of 1982/83 - a normal mode model view. Quart. J. R. Met. Soc., 115, 1039-1069.

Busalacchi, A.J., and J.J. O'Brien, 1981: Interannual variability of the equatorial Pacific in the 1960's. J. Geophys. Res., 86, 10901-10907.

Clarke, A.J., 1983: The reflection of equatorial waves from oceanic boundaries. J. of Phys. Oceanogr., 13: 1193-1207.

Kessler, W.S., 1990: Observations of long Rossby waves in the Northern Tropical Pacific. J. Geophys. Res., 95, 5183-5217.

Kessler, W.S., 1991: Can reflected extra-equatorial Rossby waves drive ENSO. J. of Phys. Oceanogr., 21, 444-452.

Philander, S.G.H., 1981: The response of equatorial oceans to a relaxation of the trade winds. J. of Phys. Oceanogr., 11, 176-189.

Wakata,Y., and E.S. Sarachik, 1991: On the role of equatorial ocean modes in the ENSO cycle. J. of Phys. Oceanogr., 21, 434-443.

4d The Coupled Response and the ENSO mode>

Battisti, D.S., 1988: The dynamics and thermodynamics of a warm event in a coupled atmosphere/ocean model. J. Atmos. Sci., 45, 2889-2919.

Battisti, D.S., and A.C. Hirst, 1989: Interannual variability in the tropical atmosphere/ocean system: influences of the basic state, ocean geometry and nonlinearity;SPMquot;. J. Atmos. Sci., 46, 1687-1712.

Battisti, D.S., and E. S. Sarachik, 1995: U.S. National Report to International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics: Contributions in Oceanography, American Geophysical Union.

Hirst, A.C., 1986: Unstable and Damped equatorial modes in simple coupled ocean-atmosphere models. J. Atmos. Sci., 43, 606-630.

Nagai, T., T. Tokioka, M. Endoh and Y. Kitamura, El Niño/Southern Oscillation simulated in an MRI atmosphere-ocean coupled general circulation model, J. Climate, 5, 1202-1233, 1992.

Neelin et al., 1992: Comparison of GCM ...

1998 Neelin, J. D., D. S. Battisti, A. C. Hirst, F. F. Jin, Y. Wakata, T. Yamagata and S. Zebiak: ENSO Theory. J. Geophys. Res., 103, 14,261-290.

Philander, S.G.H., T.Yamagata, and R.C. Pacanowski, 1984: Unstable air-sea interactions in the tropics. J. Atmos. Sci., 41, 604- 613.

Philander, S.G.H., R.C. Pacanowski and M.J. Nath, 1990: Simulation of ENSO with a gloabl atmospheric GCM coupled to a high-resolution, tropical Pacific Ocean gcm. J. Climate, 5, 308-329.

Robertson, A.W., C.-C. Ma, M. Ghil, and C.R. Mechoso, Simulation of the Tropical Pacific climate with a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model. Part II: Interannual variability, J. Climate, 1995.

Schopf, P.S. and M.J. Suarez, 1988: Vacillations in a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. J. Atmos. Sci., 45, 549-566.

Thompson, C.J., and D.S. Battisti, 2000: A Linear Stochastic Dynamical Model of ENSO. Part I. Development. J. Climate, 13, 2818-83

Yamagata, T., 1985: Stability of a simple air-sea model in the tropics. Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Models, Elsevier Oceanography Series, 40, J.C.J. Nihoul (ed), 637-656.

Zebiak, S.E. and M.A. Cane, 1987: A model El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Mon. Wea. Rev., 115, 2262-2278.

4e Teleconnections to midlatitudes

Alexander, M. A., 1992: Midlatitude air-sea interaction during El Niño. Part I: the North Pacific Ocean. J. Climate, 5, 944-958.

Alexander, M. A., 1992: Midlatitude air-sea interaction during El Niño. Part II: the Northern Hemisphere atmosphere. J. Climate, 5, 959-972.

Hoskins, B.J., and D. J. Karoly, 1981: The steady linear response of a spherical atmosphere to thermal and orographic forcing. J. Atmos. Sci., 38, 1179-96.

Lau, G., and M. J. Nath, 1996: The role of the atmospheric bridge in linking tropical Pacific ENSO events to extratropical SST anomalies. J. Climate, 9, 2036-2057.

Simmons, A.J., 1982: The forcing of stationary wave motion by tropical diabatic heating. Quart. J. R. Met. Soc., 108, 503-534.

Simmons, A.J., J.M. Wallace, and G. Branstator, 1983: Barotropic wave propagation and instability, and atmospheric teleconnection patterns. J. Atmos. Sci., 40, 1363-1392.

Sardeshmukh, P.D. and B.J. Hoskins, 1988: The generation of global rotational flow by idealised tropical divergence. J. Atmos. Sci., 45, 1228-1251.

Ting, M., and P.D. Sardeshmukh, 1993: Factors determining the extratropical response to equatorial diabatic heating anomalies. J. Atmos. Sci., 50, 907-918.

Trenberth, K.E., G.W. Branstator, D. Karloy, A. Kumar, N.-C. Lau, and C. Ropelewski, 1988: Progress during TOGA in understanding and modeling global teleconnections associated with tropical sea surface temperatures. J. Geophs. Res., 103, 14291-324.

Valdes, P.J. and B.J. Hoskins, 1989: Linear stationary wave simulations of the time-mean climatological flow. J. Atmos. Sci., 46, 2509-2527.

Wallace, J.M., and D.S. Gutzler, 1981: Teleconnections in the geopotential height field during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Mon. Wea. Rev., 111, 1838-1858.

Wallace, J. M., E. M. Rasmusson, T. P. Mitchell, V. E. Kousky, E. S. Sarachik, and H. v. Storch, 1998: On the structure and evolution of ENSO-related climate variability in the tropical Pacific: Lessons from TOGA. J. Geophys. Res., 103, 14241-59.

5a Stochastic; Exotic; Anthropogenic Burgers, G., 1999: The El Nino stochastic oscillator Clim. Dyn., 7, 521-531.

Chang, P., B. Wang, T. Li, and L. Ji, Interactions between the seasonal cycle and ENSO-frequency entrainment and chaos in a coupled atmosphere-ocean model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, No. 25, 2817-2820, 1994.

Chang, P., L. Ji, H. Li, and M. Flugel, 199x: Chaotic dynamics versus stochastic processes in El Niño-Southern Oscillation in Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere models. Physica D, xx.

Geise, 2001:

Gu, D. and S. G. H. Philander, 1997: Interdecadal climate fluctuations that depend on exchanges between the tropics and extratropics. Science, 265, 805-7.

Schneider, N., and co., 2000 (Geophs. Res. Lett.)

Thompson, C.J., and D.S. Battisti, 2001: A Linear Stochastic Dynamical Model of ENSO. Part II. Analysis. J. Climate, 14, 445-66

Zhang, Y., J.M. Wallace and D.S. Battisti: ENSO-like Decade-to-Century Scale Variability: 1900-93. J. Climate, 10, 1004-20.

5b The paleo record of ENSO

To be announced.

Part III: Climate Variability: the Midlatitudes

6. Midlatitude vs. Tropical Coupling: fundamental differences Class Notes.

7. Basic Effects of coupling in the Midlatitudes

7a Observations

Hurrell, J. and H. v. Loon, 1997: Decadal variations in climate associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation. Climate Change.

Pan, Y.H., and A.H. Oort, 1990: Correlation analyses between sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific and the world ocean. Climate Dynamics, 4, 191-205.

Wallace, J.M., and Q. Jiang, 1987: On the observed structure of the interannual variability of the atmosphere/ocean climate system. Atmospheric. and oceanic variability, H. Cattle, Ed., Roy. Meteor. Soc., Bracknell, Berkshire, 17-43.

Wallace, J.M., C. Smith, and Q. Jiang, 1990: Spatial patterns of atmosphere-ocean interaction in the northern winter. J. Climate, 3, 990-998.

Wallace, J.M., C. Smith, and C.S. Bretherton, 1992: Singular Value Decomposition of wintertime sea surface temperature and 500-mb height anomalies. J. Climate, 5, 561-576.

7b Reduced thermal damping and re-emergence

Alexander, M. and C. Deser, 1993: A mechanism for the recurrence of wintertime midlatitude SST anomalies, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 25, 122-137.

Barsugli, J. and D.S. Battisti, 1998: The basic effects of atmosphere-ocean thermal coupling on midlatitude variability. J. Atmos. Sci., 55, 477-93.

Blade, I., 1997: The influence of midlatitude coupling on low-frequency variability of a GCM. Part I: No tropical SST forcing. J. Climate, 10, 2087-2106.

Deser, C., M.A. Alexander and M.S. Timlin, 1996: Upper-ocean thermal variations in the North Pacific during 1970-91. J. Climate, 9, 1840-1855

Frankignoul, C. and R.W. Reynolds, 1983: Testing a dynamical model for mid- latitude sea surface temperature anomalies. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 13, 1131- 1145.

Frankignoul, C., 1985: Sea surface temperature anomalies, planetary waves, and air-sea feedback in the middle latitudes. Rev. Geophys., 23, 357-390.

Manabe, S. and R. J. Stouffer, 1996: Low-frequency variability of surface air temperature in a 1000-year integration of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. J. Climate, 9, 376-93.

Saravanan, R., 1998: Atmospheric low-frequency variability and its relationship to midlatitude SST variability: studies using the NCAR Climate System Model. J. Climate, 11, 1386-1404.

7c Implications for interpreting AMIP experiments

Bretherton, C., and D.S. Battisti, 2000: Geophys. Rev. Letts.,

Rodwell, M.J., D.P. Rowell, and C.K. Folland: Oceanic forcing of the wintertime North Atlantic Oscillation and European climate. Nature, 398, 320-323, 1999.

Mehta, V.M., M.J. Suarez, J. Manganello, and T.L. Delworth: Predictability of multiyear to decadal variations in the North Atlantic Oscillati on and associated Northern Hemisphere climate variations: 1959-1993. Geophys. Rev. Letts., 27(1), 121-124.

8. The Atmospheric Response to Ocean Induced Forcing in the Midlatitudes 8a SST vs. heat flux forcing

Schneider et al., submitted 2001. J. Climate

Seager, R., and A. C. Clement, submitted 2001: Zonal asymmetries of the Earth's climate in the absence of ocean heat transports. J. Climate

R.T. Sutton and P-P. Mathieu, 2001. Response of the atmosphere - ocean mixed layer system to anomalous ocean heat flux convergence. Submitted 2001. Quart. J. Roy. Met. Soc..

8b The atmospheric response to midlatude sea surface temperature anomalies

Held, I.M., 1983: Stationary and quasi-stationary eddies in the extratropical troposphere: Theory. Large-scale Dynamical Processes in the Atmosphere. B. Hoskins and R. Pearce, Eds., Academic Press, 391 pp.

Lau, N. -C and M.J. Nath, 1990: A general circulation model study of the atmospheric response to atmospheric SST anomalies observed in 1950-1979. J. Climate, 3, 965-989.

Lau, N.C., and M. J. Nath, 1994: A modeling study of the relative roles of tropical and extratropical SST anomalies in the variability of the global atmosphere-ocean system. J. Climate, 7, 1184-1207.

Kushnir Y., and N.-C. Lau, 1992: The general circulation model response to a North Pacific SST anomaly: Dependence on timescale and pattern polarity. J. Climate, 5, 271- 283.

Palmer, T.N. and Z. Sun, 1985: A modelling and observational study of the relationship between seas surface temperature in the north-west Atlantic and the atmospheric general circulation. Quart. J. R. Met. Soc., 111, 1244-1258.

Peng, S., W. Robinson, and M. Hoerling, 1997: The modeled atmospheric response to midlatitude SST anomalies and its dependence on background circulation states. J. Climate, 10, 971-987.

8c Stationary and transient response

Hoskins, B.J. and P.J. Valdes, 1990: On the existence of storm-tracks. J. Atmos. Sci., 47, 1854-64.

9. Decadal Variability and Midlatitude Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions: Gyre and Intergyre Ocean Circulation and Hypothesized Feedbacks to the Atmosphere.

9a Ocean midlatitude gyre: intrinsic and forced variability

Cessi, 2001

9b The Latif-Barnett and the gyre-intergyre hypotheses for decadal variability in the Pacific and Atlantic, respectively

Cessi, P. 2000: Thermal feedback on wind stress as a contributing cause of climate variability. J. Climate, 13, 232-244.

Latif, M. and T. P. Barnett, 1996: Decadal climate variability over the North Pacific and North America: Dynamics and predictability. J. Climate, 9, 2407-2423.

Marshall, J., Johnson, H. and J. Goodman, 2001: Interaction of the North Atlantic Oscillation with ocean circulation: J. Climate 14, 1399-1421

Schneider, N., S. Venzke, A.J. Miller, D.W. Pierce, T.P. Barnett, C. Deser and M. Latif, 2001: Pacific thermocline bridge revisited. Geophys. Res. Letts., 9, 1329-32.

Seager, R., Y. Kushnir, N. Naik, M. A. Cane, and J. A. Miller, submitted 2001: Wind-driven shifts in the latitude of the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension and generation of SST anomalies on decadal timescales. J. Climate.

Vimont, D. J., 2000: Pacific interannual to interdecadal variability in a 1000 year simulation of the CSIRO Coupled General Circulation Model. Master's Thesis, University of Washington.

Wei, 2000: Ph.D. Thesis, U. Miami.

Suggested Text References:

Andrews, D.G., J.R. Holton and C.B. Leovy, 1987: Middle Atmosphere Dynamics. Academic Press, London, 489 pp.

Gill, Adrian E., 1982: Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics. Academic Press, London.

Hartmann, D.L., 1994: Global physical climatology. Academic Press, San Diego, p411.

Holton, J.R., 1992: Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology, third edition. Academic Press, London, 511pp.

James, Ian N. , 1994: Introduction to circulating atmospheres Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 422 p.

Nihoul, J.C. (ed.), 1985: Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Models. Elsivier.

Peixoto, J. P. and A.H. Oort, 1992: Physics of Climate. American Institute of Physics, New York, 520 pp.

Philander, S.G.H., 1989: El Niño, La Niña and the Southern Oscillation. Academic Press, 299pp.


 Last Updated:

Contact the instructor at: david@atmos.washington.edu