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A stochastic dynamical systems view of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

By H.A. Dijkstra, L.M. Frankcombe and A.S. von der Heydt


We provide a dynamical systems framework to understand the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and show that this framework is in many ways similar to that of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. A so-called minimal primitive equation model is used to represent the Atlantic Ocean circulation. Within this minimal model, we identify a normal mode of multidecadal variability that can destabilize the background climate state through a Hopf bifurcation. Next, we argue that noise is setting the amplitude of the sea surface temperature variability associated with this normal mode. The results provide support that a stochastic Hopf bifurcation is involved in the multidecadal variability as observed in the North Atlantic

Year: 2008
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