Effect of AMOC collapse on ENSO in a high resolution general circulation model
We look at changes in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in a high-resolution eddy-permitting climate model experiment in which the Atlantic Meridional Circulation (AMOC) is switched off using freshwater hosing. The ENSO mode is shifted eastward and its period becomes longer and more regular when the AMOC is off. The eastward shift can be attributed to an anomalous eastern Ekman transport in the mean equatorial Pacific ocean state. Convergence of this transport deepens the thermocline in the eastern tropical Pacific and increases the temperature anomaly relaxation time, causing increased ENSO period. The anomalous Ekman transport is caused by a surface northerly wind anomaly in response to the meridional sea surface temperature dipole that results from switching the AMOC off. In contrast to a previous study with an earlier version of the model, which showed an increase in ENSO amplitude in an AMOC off experiment, here the amplitude remains the same as in the AMOC on control state. We attribute this difference to variations in the response of decreased stochastic forcing in the different models, which competes with the reduced damping of temperature anomalies. In the new high-resolution model, these effects approximately cancel resulting in no change in amplitude.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013 under Grant agreement no. 603864 (HELIX). MC acknowledges funding from NE/N018486/1.
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