The response of the North Atlantic storm track to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions is strongly affected by changes in ocean circulation, reports a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The findings indicate that a better understanding of the ocean circulation would help reduce uncertainties in the future evolution of the North Atlantic storm track - which has been projected to extend further towards western Europe.
Tim Woollings and colleagues analysed an ensemble of coupled climate model simulations for the twenty-first century. They found that the strengthening and eastward extension of the North Atlantic storm track in response to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions - markedly different from the poleward shift of storm tracks in other regions - is shaped by changes in the Atlantic overturning circulation. They conclude that the oceanic overturning circulation is closely linked to the North Atlantic storm track.