EGU24-9274, updated on 08 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Role of the North Atlantic for Heat Wave Characteristics in Europe

Sabine Bischof1, Robin Pilch Kedzierski2, Martje Hänsch1, Sebastian Wahl1, and Katja Matthes1
Sabine Bischof et al.
  • 1GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 2Meteorological Institute, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

The recent severe European summer heat waves of 2015 and 2018 co-occurred with cold subpolar North Atlantic (NA) sea surface temperatures (SSTs). However, a significant connection between this oceanic state and European heat waves was not yet established.

We investigate the effect of cold subpolar NA SSTs on European summer heat waves using two 100-year long AMIP-like model experiments: one that employs the observed global 2018 SST pattern as a boundary forcing and a counter experiment for which we removed the negative NA SST anomaly from the 2018 SST field, while preserving daily and small-scale SST variabilities. Comparing these experiments, we find that cold subpolar NA SSTs significantly increase heat wave duration and magnitude downstream over the European continent. Surface temperature and circulation anomalies are connected by the upper-tropospheric summer wave pattern of meridional winds over the North Atlantic European sector, which is enhanced with cold NA SSTs. Our results highlight the relevance of the subpolar NA region for European summer conditions, a region that is marked by large biases in current coupled climate model simulations.

How to cite: Bischof, S., Pilch Kedzierski, R., Hänsch, M., Wahl, S., and Matthes, K.: The Role of the North Atlantic for Heat Wave Characteristics in Europe, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9274,, 2024.