I am a postdoctoral researcher studying the processes associated with the ocean-atmosphere interactions and their impact on climate variability. The representation of those processes in models has implications in the predictability of the climate impacts. Climate variability shows a vast range of time-scales (from inter-decadal Thermo-Haline-driven circulation to intra-seasonal weather regimes), understanding the air-sea interactions at different time-scales is important for future predictions. My research comprises climate variability at different scales, from ocean processes with impacts at decadal time-scales, throughout ocean-atmosphere interactions and tele-connections at inter-annual time-scales to weather regimes and their impacts on rainfall.
I am interested in the ocean-atmosphere interactions, upper ocean processes, variability and adjustment in the Atlantic Ocean circulation, Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and Tropical Atlantic Variability (TAV). I am currently working in PREFACE (EU-UCM) and RAMOC (NERC-University of Reading) projects.
PREFACE project aims to understand model biases over the Tropical Atlantic, in that context I analyse TAV and biases in CMIP5 models and in seasonal forecast systems.
RAMOC project aims to improve ocean states estimates using data assimilation of RAPID data at 26N, in this context I analyse density covariances with AMOC at 26N and their associated forcings and timescales.
(1) Polo et al (2008) analysed the tropical variability modes related to West African Monsoon. The Atlantic Niño was the leading mode of the ITCZ-shifts at inter-annual time-scales and it was also associated with ENSO. Deeper analysis of this inter-basin relationship revealed for the first time how equatorial Atlantic was able to impact the ENSO. This has been described in a series of publications in which I am co-author (Rodriguez-Fonseca et al., 2009; Losada et al., 2009; Polo et al., 2013a; Polo et al., 2015; Martin-Rey et al., 2014; Martin-Rey et al., 2015). From partially coupled simulations, the warming over equatorial Atlantic was able to impact on the walker circulation on tropical Pacific. Anomalous subsidence and divergent winds triggers a Kelvin wave eastward propagating which allows increasing the horizontal and vertical advection due to anomalous zonal velocity and stratification respectively, driven an El Niño event. The inter-basin tele-connection was showed to be modulated at multi-decadal time-scales, mostly due to the AMO, by changing the convection background over west equatorial Atlantic and ENSO variability. From water hosing experiments, changes in the AMOC have shown to have an impact on tropical variability and the Atlantic-Pacific connection.
(2) Analysis of the mechanisms associated with the geostrophic part of the AMOC in a series of ocean simulations have revealed the processes related to wind and buoyancy forcing have different time-scales, which has a potential impact on predictability (Polo et al., 2014). Currently I am contributing in understanding density variability at the boundaries and the decadal prediction of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre.
(3) A series of papers on weather regimes over the North Atlantic European and Mediterranean region has shown that extra-tropics are associated with African rainfall being the Mediterranean Sea an intermediate driver (Polo et al. 2011; Polo et al., 2013b; Garcia-Serrano et al., 2013a). Decadal predictability has been assessed for West African rainfall and Atlantic Niño (Garcia-Serrano et al., 2013b; 2013c).
Belén Rodríguez Fonseca, Elsa Mohino, C. Roberto Mechoso, C. Caminade, M. Biasutti, M. Gaetani, J.Garcia Serrano, E. K.Vizy, K. Cook, Y. Xue, Irene Polo, Teresa Losada, L. Druyan, B. Fontaine, J. Bader, F. J.Doblas Reyes, L. Goddard, S. Janicot, A. Arribas, W. Lau, A. Colman, D. P. Rowell, F. Kucharski, and A.Voldoire 2014 Published
Variability and Predictability of West African Droughts. The role of SST.
Journal of Climate, 28, 4034–4060
Nonstationary interannual teleconnections modulated by multidecadal variability
Física de la Tierra: Climate variability and teleconnections in West Africa and the Mediterranean. 25, pp. 11 - 39. PUBLICACIONES UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE DE MADRID, 2013. ISSN0214-4557
Belén Rodríguez Fonseca, Serge Janicot, Elsa Mohino, Teresa Losada, Juergen Bader, Cyril Caminade, Fabrice Chauvin, Bernard Fontaine, Javier García Serrano, Sebastien Gervois, Mathieu Joly, Irene Polo, Paolo Ruti, Pascal Roucou, and Aurore Voldoire 2011 Published
Interannual and decadal SST-forced responses of the West African monsoon
Atmospheric Science Letters, Vol. 12, pp. 67-74. DOI: 10.1002/ASL.308
Are Atlantic Niños enhancing Pacific ENSO events in recent decades?
Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, L20705. DOI 10.1029/2009GL040048.
Large-scale atmospheric response to eastern Mediterranean summer-autumn SST anomalies and the associated regional impact.
Climate Dynamics, Vol 41 - 9-10, pp. 2251 - 2265. DOI: 10.1007/s00382-013-1940-4
Tropical response to the Atlantic Equatorial mode: AGCM multimodel approach.
Climate Dynamics, Vol. 35, pp. 45-52. DOI 10.1007/s00382-009-0624-6.
Tropical Atlantic Variability modes (1979-2001). Part I: time-evolving SST modes related to West African rainfall.
Journal of Climate, Vol.21, pp. 6457-6475. DOI: 10.1175/2008JCLI2607.1.
Tropical Atlantic Variability modes (1979-2001). Part II: time-evolving atmospheric circulation related to SST-forced tropical convection.
Journal of Climate, Vol. 21, pp. 6476-6497. DOI: 10.1175/2008JCLI2191.1
The Equatorial Mode. A new regional and global perspective from the 70’s.
Revista Física de la Tierra, 21,179-189, Servicio de publicaciones Universidad Complutense de Madrid. ISSN: 0214-4557.
Influence of the tropical oceanic basins on the African monsoon.
Porceedings de la 6ª asamblea hispano-portuguesa de geodesia y geofísica, pp. 163-164.
Time-evolution atmospheric response to tropical convection over Euro-Atlantic sector.
Porceedings de la 6ª asamblea hispano-portuguesa de geodesia y geofísica, pp. 122-124.
Evolución mensual de la respuesta atmosférica interanual al Niño Atlántico.
Proceedings del 8º encontro luso-espanhol de meteorología de la APMG, pp. 79-84. ISBN: 978-989-95660-0-2
Simulations of the 2000 and 2003 african monsoon seasons with the UCLA AGCM.
Proceedings of the 1st AMMA International Conference, pp. 318-320.
La variabilidad del Atlántico tropical y su teleconexión extra-tropical.
Revista Física de la Tierra, Vol. 16, pp. 37-47, Servicio de publicaciones Universidad Complutense de Madrid. ISSN: 0214-4557.
Changes in the frequency of the Weather Regimes over the Euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean sector and their relation to the anomalous temperatures over the Mediterranean Sea
http://dx.doi.org/10.5209/rev_FITE.2013.v25.43438Física de la Tierra, 25, 103-121. DOI:
Processes in the Pacific La Niña onset triggered by the Atlantic Niño
Climate /Dynamics, 44, 115-131. DOI 10.1007/s00382-014-2354-7
Growth and decay of the equatorial Atlantic SST mode by means of closed heat budget in a coupled general circulation model
Front. Earth Sci. 3:37. doi: 10.3389/feart.2015.00037
Irene Polo, Jon Robson, Rowan Sutton, and Magdalena Balmaseda 2014 Published
The importance of wind and buoyancy forcing for boundary density variations and the geostrophic component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26N
Journal of Physical Oceanography, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-13-0264.1
Irene Polo, Buwen Dong, and Rowan Sutton 2013 Published
Changes in tropical Atlantic interannual variability from a substantial weakening of the meridional overturning circulation
Climate Dynamics, 41, 2765–2784. doi: 10.1007/s00382-013-1716-x
Irene Polo, Albin Ullmann, Pascal Roucou, and Bernard Fontaine 2011 Published
Weather Regimes in the Euro-Atlantic and Mediterranean sector and relationship with West African rainfall over the period 1989-2008 from a Self-Organizing Maps Approach
Journal of Climate, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI3622.1.
Northwest Africa upwelling and the Atlantic climate variability
Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2005GL023883
Atlantic opportunities for ENSO prediction
Geophysical Research Letters, 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL065062. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL065062/full)
The Teleconnection of the Tropical Atlantic to Indo-Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures on Inter-Annual to Centennial Time Scales: A Review of Recent Findings