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M. Nuncio and Xiaojun Yuan

Abstract

This study explores the impact of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) on the Southern Hemisphere sea ice variability. Singular value decomposition (SVD) of September–November sea ice concentration and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies reveals patterns of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific and the IOD in the equatorial Indian Ocean. The relative importance of the IOD’s impact on sea ice in the Pacific sector of Antarctica is difficult to assess for two reasons: 1) ENSO generates larger anomalies in the Pacific and Weddell Sea and 2) many of the positive (negative) IODs co-occur with El Niño (La Niña). West of the Ross Sea, sea ice growth can be attributed to the negative heat fluxes associated with cold meridional flow between high and low pressure cells generated by the effects of the IOD. However, the locations of these positive and negative pressure anomaly centers tend to appear north of the sea ice zone during combined ENSO–IOD events, reducing the influence of the IOD on sea ice. The IOD influence is at a maximum in the region west of the Ross Sea. When ENSO is removed, sea ice in the Indian Ocean (near 60°E) increases because of cold outflows west of low pressure centers while sea ice near 90°E decreases because of the warm advection west of a high pressure center located south of Australia.

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