Variability of the monthly European temperature and its association with the Atlantic sea-surface temperature from interannual to multidecadal scales



The relationships between the main patterns of variability of the Atlantic sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) and the European land-surface temperatures (LSTs) at interannual-to-multidecadal time scales are investigated along the period 1872–2004. Principal component analysis (PCA) is used firstly to obtain the main spatio-temporal patterns of variability of the LSTs and SSTs. Singular Spectral Analysis (SSA) is then used to decompose the time series associated with these patterns into nonlinear trends and quasi-periodic oscillations, searching for common oscillatory modes to the SSTs and LSTs. The potential predictability of the LSTs based on the SSTs is also analysed. Regarding the SSA results, three robust oscillations of periods around 13.7, 7.5 and 5.2 years, present both in the Atlantic SSTs and north-western European LSTs, were isolated. These oscillations were found to be associated mainly with a quadripolar SST pattern in the North Atlantic region, usually related to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) atmospheric mode of variability. The predictability study revealed that the SSTs of the Atlantic Ocean are able to account for about 12% of the north-western European LSTs variance. Additionally, an oscillatory component with period around 3.6 years was identified, but no significant connection between SST and LST was found for this mode. In addition, at this time scale, we find that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is leading the Atlantic SST quadripolar pattern by 6 months. Finally, the analysis of the nonlinear trends showed the presence of oscillations with periods around 60–100 years, both in the SSTs and LSTs. At these later time scales, our results reveal that the multidecadal behaviour of the southern European LSTs is related to Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) during the period 1872–1940, unlike the northern and eastern European LSTs, while, during the period 1941–2004, the AMO sign seems to be present in whole Europe. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society