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Decadal Modulation of the ENSO–Indian Ocean Basin Warming Relationship during the Decaying Summer by the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation

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  • 1 Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
  • 2 Department of Meteorology, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Abstract

Many previous studies have shown that an Indian Ocean basin warming (IOBW) occurs usually during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) decaying spring to summer seasons through modifying the equatorial zonal circulation. Decadal modulation associated with the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) is further investigated here to understand the nonstationary ENSO–IOBW relationship during ENSO decaying summer (July–September). During the positive IPO phase, significant warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are observed over the tropical Indian Ocean in El Niño decaying summers and vice versa for La Niña events, while these patterns are not well detected in the negative IPO phase. Different decaying speeds of ENSO associated with the IPO phase, largely controlled by both zonal advective and thermocline feedbacks, are suggested to be mainly responsible for these different ENSO–IOBW relationships. In contrast to ENSO events in the negative IPO phase, the ones in the positive IPO phase display a slower decaying speed and delay their transitions both from a warm to a cold state and a cold to a warm state. The slower decay of El Niño and La Niña thereby helps to sustain the teleconnection forcing over the equatorial Indian Ocean and corresponding SST anomalies there can persist into summer. This IPO modulation of the ENSO–IOBW relationship carries important implications for the seasonal prediction of the Indian Ocean SST anomalies and associated summer climate anomalies.

© 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: Wenjun Zhang, zhangwj@nuist.edu.cn

Abstract

Many previous studies have shown that an Indian Ocean basin warming (IOBW) occurs usually during El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) decaying spring to summer seasons through modifying the equatorial zonal circulation. Decadal modulation associated with the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) is further investigated here to understand the nonstationary ENSO–IOBW relationship during ENSO decaying summer (July–September). During the positive IPO phase, significant warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are observed over the tropical Indian Ocean in El Niño decaying summers and vice versa for La Niña events, while these patterns are not well detected in the negative IPO phase. Different decaying speeds of ENSO associated with the IPO phase, largely controlled by both zonal advective and thermocline feedbacks, are suggested to be mainly responsible for these different ENSO–IOBW relationships. In contrast to ENSO events in the negative IPO phase, the ones in the positive IPO phase display a slower decaying speed and delay their transitions both from a warm to a cold state and a cold to a warm state. The slower decay of El Niño and La Niña thereby helps to sustain the teleconnection forcing over the equatorial Indian Ocean and corresponding SST anomalies there can persist into summer. This IPO modulation of the ENSO–IOBW relationship carries important implications for the seasonal prediction of the Indian Ocean SST anomalies and associated summer climate anomalies.

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Corresponding author: Wenjun Zhang, zhangwj@nuist.edu.cn
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