EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Does interactive ocean dynamics effect North Atlantic SST variability?

Olivia Gozdz, Tim DelSole, and Martha Buckley
Olivia Gozdz et al.
  • George Mason University, Atmosphere, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, Falls Church, United States of America (

There is currently disagreement regarding the role of active ocean dynamics in Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) variations. We investigate this by comparing sea surface temperature variations in a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice model to those in a coupled model in which the atmosphere is coupled to a motionless slab (henceforth slab ocean model). Differences in variability between the two models are diagnosed by an optimization technique that finds components whose variance differs as much as possible between the two models. This technique reveals that SST variability differs significantly between the two models. Thus, the slab and fully coupled model are statistically distinguishable. The two leading components with larger SST variance in the slab model are associated with the tripole SST pattern and the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV) pattern. This result supports previous claims that ocean dynamics are not necessary for the AMV and, in fact, may be damping it. The leading component with larger variance in the coupled model resembles the Atlantic Nino pattern, consistent with the fact that ocean dynamics are required for Atlantic Nino. The second leading component with larger variance in the coupled model is a mode of subpolar SST variability that is associated with sea surface height variations along the path of the North Atlantic current, suggesting a role for wind-driven ocean dynamics.

How to cite: Gozdz, O., DelSole, T., and Buckley, M.: Does interactive ocean dynamics effect North Atlantic SST variability?, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13047,, 2022.