1932

Abstract

Cold ocean temperature anomalies have been observed in the mid- to high-latitude North Atlantic on interannual to centennial timescales. Most notably, a large region of persistently low surface temperatures accompanied by a sharp reduction in ocean heat content was evident in the subpolar gyre from the winter of 2013–2014 to 2016, and the presence of this feature at a time of pervasive warming elsewhere has stimulated considerable debate. Here, we review the role of air-sea interaction and ocean processes in generating this cold anomaly and place it in a longer-term context. We also discuss the potential impacts of surface temperature anomalies for the atmosphere, including the North Atlantic Oscillation and European heat waves; contrast the behavior of the Atlantic with the extreme warm surface event that occurred in the North Pacific over a similar timescale; and consider the possibility that these events represent a response to a change in atmospheric planetary wave forcing.

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2018-01-03
2024-06-17
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