Origin of weakened interannual sea‐surface temperature variability in the Southeastern Tropical Atlantic Ocean

Observations and reanalysis products are used to investigate the substantial weakening in the southeastern tropical Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) variability since 2000. Relative to 1982–1999, the March‐April‐May SST variability in the Angola‐Benguela area (ABA) has decreased by more than 30%. Both equatorial remote forcing and local forcing are known to play an important role in driving SST variability in the ABA. Compared to 1982–1999, since 2000, equatorial remote forcing had less influence on ABA SSTs, whereas local forcing has become more important. In particular, the robust correlation that existed between the equatorial zonal wind stress and the ABA SSTs has substantially weakened, suggesting less influence of Kelvin waves on ABA SSTs. Moreover, the strong correlation linking the South Atlantic Anticyclone and the ABA SSTs has reduced. Finally, multidecadal surface warming of the ABA could also have played a role in the weakening of the interannual SST variability.


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