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Diverse Impacts of the Indian Ocean Dipole on El Niño–Southern Oscillation

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  • 1 aDepartment of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 bNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 3 cDepartment of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • | 4 dNOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

Understanding the impact of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) on El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is important for climate prediction. By analyzing observational data and performing Indian and Pacific Ocean pacemaker experiments using a state-of-the-art climate model, we find that a positive IOD (pIOD) can favor both cold and warm sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) in the tropical Pacific, in contrast to the previously identified pIOD–El Niño connection. The diverse impacts of the pIOD on ENSO are related to SSTA in the Seychelles–Chagos thermocline ridge (SCTR; 60°–85°E, 7°–15°S) as part of the warm pole of the pIOD. Specifically, a pIOD with SCTR warming can cause warm SSTA in the southeastern Indian Ocean, which induces La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific through interbasin interaction processes associated with a recently identified climate phenomenon dubbed the “warm pool dipole.” This study identifies a new pIOD–ENSO relationship and examines the associated mechanisms.

© 2021 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: Lei Zhang, lezh8230@colorado.edu

Abstract

Understanding the impact of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) on El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is important for climate prediction. By analyzing observational data and performing Indian and Pacific Ocean pacemaker experiments using a state-of-the-art climate model, we find that a positive IOD (pIOD) can favor both cold and warm sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) in the tropical Pacific, in contrast to the previously identified pIOD–El Niño connection. The diverse impacts of the pIOD on ENSO are related to SSTA in the Seychelles–Chagos thermocline ridge (SCTR; 60°–85°E, 7°–15°S) as part of the warm pole of the pIOD. Specifically, a pIOD with SCTR warming can cause warm SSTA in the southeastern Indian Ocean, which induces La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific through interbasin interaction processes associated with a recently identified climate phenomenon dubbed the “warm pool dipole.” This study identifies a new pIOD–ENSO relationship and examines the associated mechanisms.

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Corresponding author: Lei Zhang, lezh8230@colorado.edu

Supplementary Materials

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