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Tropical Atlantic Variability: Observations and Modeling

Department of Physics, University of Alcalá, 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
Environmental Sciences Institute, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Avenida Carlos III s/n, 45071 Toledo, Spain
Departamento de Matemática Aplicada a la Ingeniería Industrial, E.T.S.I. Industriales, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, c/José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 502;
Received: 20 July 2019 / Revised: 14 August 2019 / Accepted: 19 August 2019 / Published: 27 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Atlantic Variability)
We review the state-of-the-art knowledge of Tropical Atlantic Variability (TAV). A well-developed observing system and sustained effort of the climate modeling community have improved our understanding of TAV. It is dominated by the seasonal cycle, for which some mechanisms have been identified. The interannual TAV presents a marked seasonality with three dominant modes: (i) the Atlantic Zonal Mode (AZM), (ii) the Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM) and (iii) the variability in the Angola–Benguela Front (ABF). At longer time scales, the AMM is active and low-frequency variations in the strength, periodicity, and spatial structure of the AZM are observed. Also, changes in the mean position of the ABF occur. Climate models still show systematic biases in the simulated TAV. Their causes are model-dependent and relate to drawbacks in the physics of the models and to insufficient resolution of their atmospheric and oceanic components. The identified causes for the biases can have local or remote origin, involving the global ocean and atmospheric circulation. Although there is not a clear consensus regarding the role of model resolution in the representation of the TAV, eddy-resolving ocean models combined with atmospheric models with enhanced horizontal and vertical resolutions simulate smaller biases. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tropical Atlantic Variability; Tropical Atlantic climate; sea-surface temperature biases; observational data; climate modeling Tropical Atlantic Variability; Tropical Atlantic climate; sea-surface temperature biases; observational data; climate modeling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cabos, W.; de la Vara, A.; Koseki, S. Tropical Atlantic Variability: Observations and Modeling. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 502.

AMA Style

Cabos W, de la Vara A, Koseki S. Tropical Atlantic Variability: Observations and Modeling. Atmosphere. 2019; 10(9):502.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cabos, William, Alba de la Vara, and Shunya Koseki. 2019. "Tropical Atlantic Variability: Observations and Modeling" Atmosphere 10, no. 9: 502.

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