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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Mar 2018

Research article | 19 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Long Island Sound Temperature Variability and its Associations with the Ridge-trough Dipole and Tropical Modes of Sea Surface Temperature Variability

Justin A. Schulte1 and Sukyoung Lee2 Justin A. Schulte and Sukyoung Lee
  • 1Davidson Laboratory, Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, 5New Jersey, 07030, United States
  • 2Departmen of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, 16823, United States

Abstract. Possible mechanisms behind the longevity of intense Long Island Sound (LIS) water temperature events are examined using an event-based approach. By decomposing a LIS surface water temperature time series into negative and positive events, it is revealed that the most intense LIS water temperature event in the 1979–2013 period occurred around 2012, coinciding with the 2012 ocean heat wave across the mid-Atlantic Bight. The LIS events are related to a ridge-trough dipole pattern whose strength and evolution can be measured using a dipole index. The dipole index was shown to be strongly correlated with LIS water temperature anomalies, explaining close to 64% of cool-season LIS water temperature variability. Consistently, a major dipole pattern event coincided with the intense 2012 LIS warm event. A composite analysis revealed that long-lived intense LIS water temperature events are associated with tropical sea surface temperature (SST) patterns. The onset and mature phases of LIS cold events were shown to coincide with central Pacific El Niño events, whereas the termination of LIS cold events was shown to possibly coincide with canonical El Niño events or El Niño events that are a mixture of eastern and central Pacific El Niño flavors. The mature phase of LIS warm events was shown to be associated with negative SST anomalies across the central equatorial Pacific, though the results were not found to be robust. The dipole pattern was also shown to be related to tropical SST patterns and fluctuations in central Pacific SST anomalies were shown to evolve coherently with the dipole pattern and the strongly related East Pacific/North Pacific pattern on decadal time scales. The results from this study have important implications for seasonal and decadal prediction of the LIS thermal system.

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Justin A. Schulte and Sukyoung Lee
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Justin A. Schulte and Sukyoung Lee
Justin A. Schulte and Sukyoung Lee
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Short summary
Connections between Long Island Sound (LIS) water temperature variability and modes of tropical sea surface temperature (SST) variability have yet to be explored. It is shown that intense LIS cold water temperature events are related to central equatorial Pacific SSTs. The decay phase of such events may be related to canonical El Niño events. Furthermore, a ridge-trough atmospheric pattern related to LIS water temperature variability fluctuates coherently with central equatorial Pacific SSTs.
Connections between Long Island Sound (LIS) water temperature variability and modes of tropical...