Biennial and Lower-Frequency Variability Observed in the Early Summer Climate in the Western North Pacific

Tomohiko Tomita Department of Environmental Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, and Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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Takao Yoshikane Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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Tetsuzo Yasunari Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, and Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan

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Abstract

Early summer climate in the western North Pacific is largely represented by the baiu phenomenon. The meridional fluctuations of the baiu front on interannual time scales and the associated large-scale circulations are examined using the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis and composite or correlation analyses based on the EOF time coefficients.

The first EOF mode indicates a 5- or 6-yr low-frequency fluctuation (LF mode) appearing south of 35°N. The development is concurrent with horseshoe sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the entire tropical Pacific that are associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). SSTAs in the western North Pacific control the anomalous southward expansion of the baiu front through a modification of the convection at around 20°–35°N. The LF mode is negatively correlated with the south-southeast Asian summer monsoon.

The second EOF mode is characterized by a meridional seesawlike fluctuation with a node at around 28°N and a time scale of biennial oscillation (BO mode). The horseshoe SSTAs again control the anomalous meridional circulations, but with a different spatial phase through a convection off the Philippines. The spatial phase difference between the two horseshoe patterns is about 90° in both the zonal and meridional directions. The BO mode is negatively correlated with the tropical western North Pacific monsoon.

SSTAs associated with the BO mode tend to be confined to the tropical western Pacific, while the signals of the LF mode extend rather broadly in the tropical Pacific–Indian Ocean sector, suggesting that the tropical BO is an aborted ENSO in the tropical central–western Pacific. The spatial phase of horseshoe SSTAs adjusts the interannual variability of the meridional fluctuation of the baiu front in the western North Pacific.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Tomohiko Tomita, Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860-8555, Japan. Email: tomita@sci.kumamoto-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Early summer climate in the western North Pacific is largely represented by the baiu phenomenon. The meridional fluctuations of the baiu front on interannual time scales and the associated large-scale circulations are examined using the empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis and composite or correlation analyses based on the EOF time coefficients.

The first EOF mode indicates a 5- or 6-yr low-frequency fluctuation (LF mode) appearing south of 35°N. The development is concurrent with horseshoe sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) in the entire tropical Pacific that are associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). SSTAs in the western North Pacific control the anomalous southward expansion of the baiu front through a modification of the convection at around 20°–35°N. The LF mode is negatively correlated with the south-southeast Asian summer monsoon.

The second EOF mode is characterized by a meridional seesawlike fluctuation with a node at around 28°N and a time scale of biennial oscillation (BO mode). The horseshoe SSTAs again control the anomalous meridional circulations, but with a different spatial phase through a convection off the Philippines. The spatial phase difference between the two horseshoe patterns is about 90° in both the zonal and meridional directions. The BO mode is negatively correlated with the tropical western North Pacific monsoon.

SSTAs associated with the BO mode tend to be confined to the tropical western Pacific, while the signals of the LF mode extend rather broadly in the tropical Pacific–Indian Ocean sector, suggesting that the tropical BO is an aborted ENSO in the tropical central–western Pacific. The spatial phase of horseshoe SSTAs adjusts the interannual variability of the meridional fluctuation of the baiu front in the western North Pacific.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Tomohiko Tomita, Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860-8555, Japan. Email: tomita@sci.kumamoto-u.ac.jp

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