Weakened Anomalous Western North Pacific Anticyclone during an El Niño–Decaying Summer under a Warmer Climate: Dominant Role of the Weakened Impact of the Tropical Indian Ocean on the Atmosphere

Chao He Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

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Tianjun Zhou State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

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Tim Li Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China

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Abstract

The western North Pacific subtropical anticyclone (WNPAC) is the most prominent atmospheric circulation anomaly over the subtropical Northern Hemisphere during the decaying summer of an El Niño event. Based on a comparison between the RCP8.5 and the historical experiments of 30 coupled models from the CMIP5, we show evidence that the anomalous WNPAC during the El Niño–decaying summer is weaker in a warmer climate although the amplitude of the El Niño remains generally unchanged. The weakened impact of the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) over the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) on the atmosphere is essential for the weakened anomalous WNPAC. In a warmer climate, the warm tropospheric temperature (TT) anomaly in the tropical free troposphere stimulated by the El Niño–related SSTA is enhanced through stronger moist adiabatic adjustment in a warmer mean state, even if the SSTA of El Niño is unchanged. But the amplitude of the warm SSTA over TIO remains generally unchanged in an El Niño–decaying summer, the static stability of the boundary layer over TIO is increased, and the positive rainfall anomaly over TIO is weakened. As a result, the warm Kelvin wave emanating from TIO is weakened because of a weaker latent heating anomaly over TIO, which is responsible for the weakened WNPAC anomaly. Numerical experiments support the weakened sensitivity of precipitation anomaly over TIO to local SSTA under an increase of mean-state SST and its essential role in the weakened anomalous WNPAC, independent of any change in the SSTA.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0033.s1.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dr. Chao He, hechao@jnu.edu.cn

Abstract

The western North Pacific subtropical anticyclone (WNPAC) is the most prominent atmospheric circulation anomaly over the subtropical Northern Hemisphere during the decaying summer of an El Niño event. Based on a comparison between the RCP8.5 and the historical experiments of 30 coupled models from the CMIP5, we show evidence that the anomalous WNPAC during the El Niño–decaying summer is weaker in a warmer climate although the amplitude of the El Niño remains generally unchanged. The weakened impact of the sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) over the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) on the atmosphere is essential for the weakened anomalous WNPAC. In a warmer climate, the warm tropospheric temperature (TT) anomaly in the tropical free troposphere stimulated by the El Niño–related SSTA is enhanced through stronger moist adiabatic adjustment in a warmer mean state, even if the SSTA of El Niño is unchanged. But the amplitude of the warm SSTA over TIO remains generally unchanged in an El Niño–decaying summer, the static stability of the boundary layer over TIO is increased, and the positive rainfall anomaly over TIO is weakened. As a result, the warm Kelvin wave emanating from TIO is weakened because of a weaker latent heating anomaly over TIO, which is responsible for the weakened WNPAC anomaly. Numerical experiments support the weakened sensitivity of precipitation anomaly over TIO to local SSTA under an increase of mean-state SST and its essential role in the weakened anomalous WNPAC, independent of any change in the SSTA.

Supplemental information related to this paper is available at the Journals Online website: https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0033.s1.

© 2018 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dr. Chao He, hechao@jnu.edu.cn

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