Skillful prediction of northern climate provided by the ocean
Johnson, Helen L.
Keenlyside, Noel S.
- Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
(issn: 2041-1723, eissn: 2041-1723)
Erratum | Article
It is commonly understood that a potential for skillful climate prediction resides in the ocean. It nevertheless remains unresolved to what extent variable ocean heat is imprinted on the atmosphere to realize its predictive potential over land. Here we assess from observations whether anomalous heat in the Gulf Stream's northern extension provides predictability of northwestern European and Arctic climate. We show that variations in ocean temperature in the high latitude North Atlantic and Nordic Seas are reflected in the climate of northwestern Europe and in winter Arctic sea ice extent. Statistical regression models show that a significant part of northern climate variability thus can be skillfully predicted up to a decade in advance based on the state of the ocean. Particularly, we predict that Norwegian air temperature will decrease over the coming years, although staying above the long-term (1981–2010) average. Winter Arctic sea ice extent will remain low but with a general increase towards 2020.