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Multidecadal climate variability in the subtropics/mid‐latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere oceans

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Observations of multidecadal variability in sea surface temperature (SST), surface air temperature and winds over the Southern Hemisphere are presented and an ocean general circulation model applied towards investigating links between the SST variability and that of the overlying atmosphere. The results suggest that the dynamical effect of the wind stress anomalies is significant mainly in the neighbourhood of the western boundary currents and their outflows across the mid‐latitudes of each Southern Hemisphere basin (more so in the South Indian and South Atlantic than in the South Pacific Ocean) and in the equatorial upwelling zones. Over most of the subtropics to mid‐latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere oceans, changes in net surface heat flux (particularly in latent heat) appear to be more important for the SST variability than dynamical effects. Implications of these results for modelling and understanding low frequency climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere as well as possible links with mechanisms of decadal/interdecadal variability in the Northern Hemisphere are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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