Köhl, A., Stammer, D.
In the context of decadal climate predictions, a climate-mode initialization method is being tested by which ocean ORAS4 reanalysis is projected onto dominant modes of variability of the Earth System Model from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-ESM). The method aims to improve the prediction skill of the model by filtering out dynamically unbal-anced noise during the initialization step. Used climate modes are calculated as statistical 3-D modes based on the bivariate empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis applied to temperature and salinity anomalies from an ensemble of historical simulations from the MPI-ESM. The climate-mode initialization method shows improved surface temperature skill, particu-larly over the tropical Pacific Ocean at seasonal-to-interannual timescales associated with the improved zonal momentum balance. There, the new initialization somewhat outperforms the surface temperature skill of the anomaly initialization also for lead years 2–5. In other parts of the world ocean, both initialization methods currently are equivalent in skill. However, only 44% of variance in the original ORAS4 reconstruction remains after the projection on model modes, suggesting that the ORAS4 modes are not fully compatible with the model modes. Moreover, we cannot dismiss the possibility that model modes are not sufficiently sampled with the data set underlying the EOF analysis. The full potential of the climate-mode initialization method for future decadal prediction systems therefore still needs to be quantified based on improved modal representation.