The salience of nonlinearities in the boreal winter response to ENSO: Arctic stratosphere and Europe

Israel Weinberger*, Chaim I. Garfinkel, Ian P. White, Luke D. Oman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The Arctic stratospheric response to El Niño (EN) and La Niña (LN) is evaluated in a 41 member ensemble of the period 1980 to 2009 in the Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry-Climate Model. We consider whether the responses to EN and LN are equal in magnitude and opposite in sign, whether the responses to moderate and extreme events are proportionate, and if the response depends on whether sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTs) peak in the Eastern Pacific (EP) or Central Pacific (CP). There is no indication of any nonlinearities between EN and LN, though in ~ 15% of the ensemble members the stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) frequencies for EN and LN are similar, suggesting that a similar SSW frequency for EN and LN, as has occurred over the past ~ 60 years, can occur by chance. The response to extreme EN events is not proportionate to the amplitude of the underlying SST anomalies in spring. EP EN events preferentially increase zonal wavenumber 1 and decrease zonal wavenumber 2 as compared to CP EN events, however the zonal-mean Arctic stratospheric and subpolar surface response is generally little different between EP EN and CP EN once one accounts for the relative weakness of CP events. These differences between EP and CP events and between moderate and extreme EN events only emerge if at least 25 events are composited, however, due to the small signal-to-noise ratio, and hence these differences may be of little practical benefit.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4591-4610
Number of pages20
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

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© 2019, The Author(s).


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