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

Diversity in NAO-AMOC interaction on interannual to decadal timescales across CMIP6 models

Annika Reintges1, Jon Robson1, Rowan Sutton1, and Stephen Yeager2
Annika Reintges et al.
  • 1National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom (
  • 2National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA

The variations of the winter climate in Europe are influenced by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Therefore, the ability to predict the NAO is of great value. Predictability of the NAO can be enabled through oceanic processes that are characterized by relatively long time scales, for example interannual to decadal. An important variable for the interannual to (multi-)decadal variability in the North Atlantic is the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The NAO and the AMOC are known to interact, but observational records of the AMOC are short and the details of this interaction are unknown. Thus, our understanding largely relies on climate model simulations. However, the interaction of NAO and AMOC is very model dependent.

Here, we present the diversity across CMIP6 models in pre-industrial control experiments. The focus lies on simulations of the NAO, the AMOC, their interaction, and related variables on interannual to decadal timescales. Regarding the NAO-AMOC interaction, there are large differences in the strength of their relationship, in the location (like the latitude of the AMOC), its periodicity and in the time-lag between both variables.

Furthermore, we propose hypotheses of the causes for this diversity in the models. Specific processes involved in NAO-AMOC interaction might be of varying relative importance from model to model, for example, NAO-related buoyancy versus wind-forcing affecting the AMOC. Also, mean state difference like in the North Atlantic sea surface temperature might play an important role for causing differences in the variability across models.

How to cite: Reintges, A., Robson, J., Sutton, R., and Yeager, S.: Diversity in NAO-AMOC interaction on interannual to decadal timescales across CMIP6 models, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-7402,, 2022.