sea ice thickness
Antarctic sea ice helps maintain the Southern Ocean overturning circulation

Recent trends in sea ice have been studied heavily. A less well-understood problem is how sea ice affects the underlying ocean, particularly the poorly observed Southern Ocean. A new study shows how the seasonal drift of Antarctic sea ice may be more important for the global ocean overturning circulation than previously realized.

Modes shows lag correlations with temperature
A cautionary note on the use of surface heat fluxes to diagnose the causes of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is a naturally occurring pattern of sea surface temperature change that is seen in the North Atlantic on decadal timescales and affects weather and climate. Some have suggested that the AMO is a consequence of variable large-scale ocean circulation. Yet new research suggests otherwise.

Modeling simulations of the AMO index
The central role of ocean dynamics in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

In a recent technical comment, Zhang et al. show that ocean dynamics play a central role in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and the previous claims that “the AMO is a thermodynamic response of the ocean mixed layer to stochastic atmospheric forcing, and ocean circulation changes have no role in causing the AMO” are not justified.

Salinity and atmospheric circulation
Ocean salinity is a predictor of terrestrial precipitation

Ocean-to-land moisture transport leaves an imprint on sea surface salinity, making this “nature’s rain gauge” to measure the variations of the water cycle. Two new studies provide strong evidence that salinity in the subtropical North Atlantic is a skillful predictor for precipitation in the African Sahel and the US Midwest.

Oxygen loss in the ocean
Detecting human influence on oceanic oxygen

There is very little doubt that human-driven climate warming will result in widespread ocean deoxygenation; however, substantial natural variation and sparse observational records make it difficult to determine when. New research suggests that human-driven changes in oxygen levels are evident in many oceanic regions now and will be widespread in the next 15-20 years.

Temperature anomalies
Summer 2014 winds gave the 2015-16 El Niño a head start

New research shows how easterly winds in the summer of 2014 caused the anomalously warm subsurface water of the tropical Pacific—which presages an El Niño event and formed following the early 2014 westerly wind burst—to never discharge poleward, thereby remaining in the tropical Pacific and giving a head start to the developing 2015-16 El Niño.

Welcome to the US Climate Variability and Predictability Program

Register for the workshop on Arctic change and mid-latitude linkages

Arctic sea ice
Join us in February 2017 for a workshop on Arctic Change and Its Influence on Mid-Latitude Climate and Weather in Washington, DC. The workshop will explore the linkages between changes in the Arctic—warming more than twice as fast as the global average, rapid loss of sea ice, and collapse of warm season snow cover—with a period of ostensibly more frequent events of extreme weather across the mid-latitudes. The workshop is open to all, and the deadline to apply and submit an abstract is August 31. 

CLIVAR-relevant sessions at AGU Fall Meeting

AGU Fall Meeting logo

AGU Fall Meeting will be held this year from December 12 - 16. In preparation for the meeting, the US CLIVAR Project Office has compiled a condensed list of sessions that are relevant to the community. Organized according to core science topics and research challenges presented in the updated Science Plan, the list of sessions is not intended to be exhaustive, but to help the community digest the collection of the hundreds of sessions and events. Abstracts are due by August 3. 

2015 Summit Report now available

Summit report cover

The 2015 US CLIVAR Summit was held in Tucson, Arizona on August 4-6 and brought together more than 50 participants from the science community and federal agencies. This report highlights presentations and discussion at the Summit to review progress, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to advance US CLIVAR goals. 

Variations, Spring 2016: A Tale of Two Blobs

Arc pattern of the North Pacific warm anomalies

From 2013 to 2015, the scientific community and the media were enthralled with two anomalous sea surface temperature events, both getting the moniker the “Blob,” although one was warm and one was cold. These events occurred during a period of record-setting global mean surface temperatures. In this spring edition, contributors focus on the timing and extent, possible mechanisms, and impacts of these unusual ocean temperature anomalies, and what we might expect in the future as climate changes.

Submit an abstract to the 97th AMS Annual Meeting

AMS logo

The upcoming AMS annual meeting will bring together researchers across the weather, water, and climate community. There are multiple conferences and symposiums, as part of the meeting, that will be of interest to the CLIVAR community, such as the 29th Conference on Climate Variability and Change. Abstracts are due August 1.

New US CLIVAR Working Group on the Changing Width of the Tropical Belt

Intertropical Convergence Zone

Welcome to the new US CLIVAR Working Group on the Changing Width of the Tropical Belt. The intent of the working group is to further the understanding of new insights that call into question the prevailing view about the nature and causes of changes in the width of the tropics.