(a) Climatology of the blocking frequency (%) in JJA for 1948–2011

<p><strong>Figure 2.</strong> (a) Climatology of the blocking frequency (%) in JJA for 1948–2011. (b) Composite blocking frequency anomalies between high and low storm track phases. (c) Normalized time series of the PC1 of track density and the blocking frequency averaged over the red box shown in (b). The thick black line in (b) outlines regions where anomalies are significant at 90% confidence level using the Student <em>t</em>-test.</p> <p><strong>Abstract</strong></p> <p>The summertime variability of the extratropical storm track over the Atlantic sector and its links to European climate have been analysed for the period 1948–2011 using observations and reanalyses. The main results are as follows. (1) The dominant mode of the summer storm track density variability is characterized by a meridional shift of the storm track between two distinct paths and is related to a bimodal distribution in the climatology for this region. It is also closely related to the Summer North Atlantic Oscillation (SNAO). (2) A southward shift is associated with a downstream extension of the storm track and a decrease in blocking frequency over the UK and northwestern Europe. (3) The southward shift is associated with enhanced precipitation over the UK and northwestern Europe and decreased precipitation over southern Europe (contrary to the behaviour in winter). (4) There are strong ocean–atmosphere interactions related to the dominant mode of storm track variability. The atmosphere forces the ocean through anomalous surface fluxes and Ekman currents, but there is also some evidence consistent with an ocean influence on the atmosphere, and that coupled ocean–atmosphere feedbacks might play a role. The ocean influence on the atmosphere may be particularly important on decadal timescales, related to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).</p>