US Climate Variability and Predictability Program

Research Highlights

US CLIVAR aims to feature the latest research results from the community of scientists participating in our interagency-sponsored projects, working groups, panels, science teams, and workshops. Check out the collection of research highlights below and sort by topic on the right. 

In a recent article published in Geophysical Research Letters, researchers investigate the origins of the upper limb of the AMOC at 6°S, from different sections in the global ocean, by determining Lagrangian trajectories and tracing particles backward in time for 2,011 years.

A recent study by Song et al. discovered contrasting phase changes of the precipitation annual cycle between land and ocean under global warming, with land delay and ocean advance by examining simulations from 37 CMIP5 models and five large ensembles. They found that the seasonal delay of lands is mainly attributable to the increased effective heat capacity, while there exists a competing mechanism against the impact of increased capacity for the ocean precipitation.

Research by Toms et al. estimates how much impact the QBO has on the global teleconnection signature of the MJO. The authors use a spectral decomposition approach to quantify the relationships between the MJO and upper-tropospheric geopotential separately for each season of the year and for westerly and easterly QBO phases. Similar to previous studies, the results suggest that the MJO is related to upper-tropospheric geopotential anomalies across the globe. The novel contribution of the results lies in the analysis of the impacts of the QBO.

Kersalé, Meinen, and coauthors investigate the MOC flows at the southern end of the South Atlantic Ocean to evaluate the variability of the oceanic circulation across 34.5°S in the South Atlantic at all depths and at a daily frequency. This research highlights the first-ever daily quantification of the time-varying strength of the abyssal cell at 34.5°S, for which prior studies had only produced once-a-decade "snapshot" ship section estimates.

Subseasonal to seasonal climate forecasts in the US depends heavily on atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the tropical Indian and Pacific Ocean regions. While ENSO dominates seasonal predictability, the primary source of global predictability on subseasonal timescales is the MJO. To understand how ENSO and MJO interact, the authors isolated both MJO and ENSO signals and found that depending on the simultaneous location of the MJO convection and the background state of ENSO, the two signals can either enhance or mask each other.