Response of the North Pacific Oscillation to global warming in the models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report
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Based on 22 of the climate models from phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, we investigate the ability of the models to reproduce the spatiotemporal features of the wintertime North Pacific Oscillation (NPO), which is the second most important factor determining the wintertime sea level pressure field in simulations of the pre-industrial control climate, and evaluate the NPO response to the future most reasonable global warming scenario (the A1B scenario). We reveal that while most models simulate the geographic distribution and amplitude of the NPO pattern satisfactorily, only 13 models capture both features well. However, the temporal variability of the simulated NPO could not be significantly correlated with the observations. Further analysis indicates the weakened NPO intensity for a scenario of strong global warming is attributable to the reduced lower-tropospheric baroclinicity at mid-latitudes, which is anticipated to disrupt large-scale and low-frequency atmospheric variability, resulting in the diminished transfer of energy to the NPO, together with its northward shift.
KeywordNorth Pacific Oscillation (NPO) greenhouse gas warming CMIP3 climate models atmospheric baroclinicity climate change empirical orthogonal function
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The authors acknowledge various modeling groups for making their simulations available for analysis, as well as the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) for collecting and archiving the CMIP3/IPCC AR4 model output.
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