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Strengthening of Tropical Indian Ocean Teleconnection to the Northwest Pacific since the Mid-1970s: An Atmospheric GCM Study

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  • 1 LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 2 LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 3 International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

The correlation of northwest (NW) Pacific climate anomalies during summer with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the preceding winter strengthens in the mid-1970s and remains high. This study investigates the hypothesis that the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) response to ENSO is key to this interdecadal change, using a 21-member ensemble simulation with the Community Atmosphere Model, version 3 (CAM3) forced by the observed history of sea surface temperature (SST) for 1950–2000. In the model hindcast, the TIO influence on the summer NW Pacific strengthens in the mid-1970s, and the strengthened TIO teleconnection coincides with an intensification of summer SST variability over the TIO. This result is corroborated by the fact the model’s skills in simulating NW Pacific climate anomalies during summer increase after the 1970s shift.

During late spring to early summer, El Niño–induced TIO warming decays rapidly for the epoch prior to the 1970s shift but grows and persists through summer for the epoch occurring after it. This difference in the evolution of the TIO warming determines the strength of the TIO teleconnection to the NW Pacific in the subsequent summer. An antisymmetric wind pattern develops in spring across the equator over the TIO, and the associated northeasterly anomalies aid the summer warming over the north Indian Ocean by opposing the prevailing southwest monsoon. In the model, this antisymmetric spring wind pattern is well developed after but absent before the 1970s shift.

Corresponding author address: Gang Huang, LASG, IAP, CAS, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. Email: hg@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

The correlation of northwest (NW) Pacific climate anomalies during summer with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the preceding winter strengthens in the mid-1970s and remains high. This study investigates the hypothesis that the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) response to ENSO is key to this interdecadal change, using a 21-member ensemble simulation with the Community Atmosphere Model, version 3 (CAM3) forced by the observed history of sea surface temperature (SST) for 1950–2000. In the model hindcast, the TIO influence on the summer NW Pacific strengthens in the mid-1970s, and the strengthened TIO teleconnection coincides with an intensification of summer SST variability over the TIO. This result is corroborated by the fact the model’s skills in simulating NW Pacific climate anomalies during summer increase after the 1970s shift.

During late spring to early summer, El Niño–induced TIO warming decays rapidly for the epoch prior to the 1970s shift but grows and persists through summer for the epoch occurring after it. This difference in the evolution of the TIO warming determines the strength of the TIO teleconnection to the NW Pacific in the subsequent summer. An antisymmetric wind pattern develops in spring across the equator over the TIO, and the associated northeasterly anomalies aid the summer warming over the north Indian Ocean by opposing the prevailing southwest monsoon. In the model, this antisymmetric spring wind pattern is well developed after but absent before the 1970s shift.

Corresponding author address: Gang Huang, LASG, IAP, CAS, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. Email: hg@mail.iap.ac.cn

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