Editors' ChoiceOcean Climate

Clouds and Atlantic Ocean temperatures

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Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 78-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6308.78-f

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is characterized by quasi-periodic variations in sea surface temperature (SST) in the North Atlantic, has important effects on the weather and climate of the surrounding continents. Attention has been focused more on the details of the AMO in high and mid-latitudes and less on its tropical branch. Bellomo et al. present an analysis of long-term observational records for most of the past 70 years, finding evidence for a positive feedback between total cloud amount, SST, and atmospheric circulation that can strengthen the persistence and amplitude of the AMO at low latitudes. They estimate that cloud feedbacks can account for as much as nearly one-third of the observed AMO-related SST anomalies over the Atlantic tropics.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2016GL069961 (2016).

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