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Asymmetric Relationship between Indian Ocean SST and the Western North Pacific Summer Monsoon

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  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 2 State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

The summer precipitation anomalies over the tropical western North Pacific (WNP), which greatly affect East Asian climate, are closely related to Indian Ocean (IO) SST anomalies, and this WNP–IO relationship is widely assumed to be linear. This study indicates that the IO SST–WNP precipitation relationship is generally linear only when the IO SST anomalies are positive and not when the IO SST anomalies are negative, that is, a strongly cooler IO, in comparison with a moderately cooler IO, does not correspond to stronger precipitation enhancement over the WNP. Further analysis suggests that the phases of ENSO play a crucial role in modifying the impacts of IO SSTs on WNP anomalies. The reverse IO SST–WNP precipitation relationship, which exists without apparent ENSO development/decay, is intensified by El Niño decay through the enhancement of IO SST anomalies, but weakened by El Niño development and La Niña decay through the concurrence of SST anomalies in the tropical central and eastern Pacific. After removing El Niño developing and La Niña decaying cases, the IO SST and WNP precipitation anomalies show a clear linear relationship. Because of the effects of the phases of ENSO, the years of negative precipitation or anticyclonic anomalies over the WNP are highly concentrated over strongly warmer IO and El Niño decaying years, which is consistent with previous studies. However, the years of positive precipitation anomalies are scattered over cooler IO and moderately warmer IO years, implying a complexity of tropical SST forcing on positive WNP precipitation anomalies.

Corresponding author address: Riyu Lu, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: lr@mail.iap.ac.cn

Abstract

The summer precipitation anomalies over the tropical western North Pacific (WNP), which greatly affect East Asian climate, are closely related to Indian Ocean (IO) SST anomalies, and this WNP–IO relationship is widely assumed to be linear. This study indicates that the IO SST–WNP precipitation relationship is generally linear only when the IO SST anomalies are positive and not when the IO SST anomalies are negative, that is, a strongly cooler IO, in comparison with a moderately cooler IO, does not correspond to stronger precipitation enhancement over the WNP. Further analysis suggests that the phases of ENSO play a crucial role in modifying the impacts of IO SSTs on WNP anomalies. The reverse IO SST–WNP precipitation relationship, which exists without apparent ENSO development/decay, is intensified by El Niño decay through the enhancement of IO SST anomalies, but weakened by El Niño development and La Niña decay through the concurrence of SST anomalies in the tropical central and eastern Pacific. After removing El Niño developing and La Niña decaying cases, the IO SST and WNP precipitation anomalies show a clear linear relationship. Because of the effects of the phases of ENSO, the years of negative precipitation or anticyclonic anomalies over the WNP are highly concentrated over strongly warmer IO and El Niño decaying years, which is consistent with previous studies. However, the years of positive precipitation anomalies are scattered over cooler IO and moderately warmer IO years, implying a complexity of tropical SST forcing on positive WNP precipitation anomalies.

Corresponding author address: Riyu Lu, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9804, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail: lr@mail.iap.ac.cn
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