Simulation of the Tropical Pacific Climate with a Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere General Circulation Model. Part II: Interannual Variability

A. W. Robertson Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

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C-C. Ma Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

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M. Ghil Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

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C. R. Mechoso Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

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Abstract

Two multiyear simulations with a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (GCM)-totaling 45 years-are used to investigate interannual variability at the equator. The model consists of the UCLA global atmospheric GCM coupled to the GFDL oceanic GCM, dynamically active over the tropical Pacific. Multichannel singular spectrum analysis along the equator identifies ENSO-like quasi-biennial (QB) and quasi-quadrennial (QQ) modes. Both consist of predominantly standing oscillations in sea surface temperature and zonal wind stress that peak in the central or east Pacific, accompanied by an oscillation in equatorial thermocline depth that is characterized by a phase shift of about 90° across the basin, with west leading east. Simulated interannual variability is weaker than observed in both simulations. One of these is dominated by the QB, the other by the QQ mode, although the two differ only in details of the surface-layer parameterizations.

Abstract

Two multiyear simulations with a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model (GCM)-totaling 45 years-are used to investigate interannual variability at the equator. The model consists of the UCLA global atmospheric GCM coupled to the GFDL oceanic GCM, dynamically active over the tropical Pacific. Multichannel singular spectrum analysis along the equator identifies ENSO-like quasi-biennial (QB) and quasi-quadrennial (QQ) modes. Both consist of predominantly standing oscillations in sea surface temperature and zonal wind stress that peak in the central or east Pacific, accompanied by an oscillation in equatorial thermocline depth that is characterized by a phase shift of about 90° across the basin, with west leading east. Simulated interannual variability is weaker than observed in both simulations. One of these is dominated by the QB, the other by the QQ mode, although the two differ only in details of the surface-layer parameterizations.

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