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Cross-Basin Interactions between the Tropical Atlantic and Pacific in the ECMWF Hindcasts

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  • 1 Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters/KLME/ILCEC, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • 2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • 3 Division of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, South Korea
  • 4 Joint Innovation Center for Modern Forestry Studies, College of Biology and Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, China
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Abstract

Using the ensemble hindcasts of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) coupled model for the period of 1980–2005, spatiotemporal evolution in the covariability of sea surface temperature (SST) and low-level winds in the ensemble mean and spread over the tropical Atlantic is investigated with the month-reliant singular value decomposition (SVD) method, which treats the variables in a given monthly sequence as one time step. The leading mode of the ensemble mean represents a coevolution of SST and winds over the tropical Atlantic associated with a phase transition of El Niño from the peak to decay phase, while the second mode is related to a phase transition from El Niño to La Niña, indicating a precursory role of the north tropical Atlantic (NTA) SST warming in La Niña development. The leading mode of ensemble spread in SST and winds further illustrates that an NTA SST anomaly acts as a precursor for El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A north-tropical pathway for the delayed effect of the NTA SST anomaly on the subsequent ENSO event is identified; the NTA SST warming induces the subtropical northeast Pacific SST cooling through the modulation of a zonal–vertical circulation, setting off a North Pacific meridional mode (NPMM). The coupled SST–wind anomalies migrate southwestward to the central equatorial Pacific and eventually amplify into a La Niña event in the following months due to the equatorial Bjerknes feedback. Ensemble spread greatly increases the sample size and affords insights into the interbasin interactions between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific, as demonstrated here in the NTA SST impact on ENSO.

© 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: Jing Ma, majingmarulai@163.com

Abstract

Using the ensemble hindcasts of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) coupled model for the period of 1980–2005, spatiotemporal evolution in the covariability of sea surface temperature (SST) and low-level winds in the ensemble mean and spread over the tropical Atlantic is investigated with the month-reliant singular value decomposition (SVD) method, which treats the variables in a given monthly sequence as one time step. The leading mode of the ensemble mean represents a coevolution of SST and winds over the tropical Atlantic associated with a phase transition of El Niño from the peak to decay phase, while the second mode is related to a phase transition from El Niño to La Niña, indicating a precursory role of the north tropical Atlantic (NTA) SST warming in La Niña development. The leading mode of ensemble spread in SST and winds further illustrates that an NTA SST anomaly acts as a precursor for El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). A north-tropical pathway for the delayed effect of the NTA SST anomaly on the subsequent ENSO event is identified; the NTA SST warming induces the subtropical northeast Pacific SST cooling through the modulation of a zonal–vertical circulation, setting off a North Pacific meridional mode (NPMM). The coupled SST–wind anomalies migrate southwestward to the central equatorial Pacific and eventually amplify into a La Niña event in the following months due to the equatorial Bjerknes feedback. Ensemble spread greatly increases the sample size and affords insights into the interbasin interactions between the tropical Atlantic and Pacific, as demonstrated here in the NTA SST impact on ENSO.

© 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: Jing Ma, majingmarulai@163.com
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