Abstract

This study is the second part of a two-part series investigating a recent decadal modulation of interannual variability over the western Pacific Ocean around the early 2000s. Observational evidence shows that the anomalous Philippine Sea cyclonic circulation retreats eastward, with the western Pacific rainfall anomaly distribution changing from a north–south tripole pattern to an east–west dipole pattern after 2003–04. These changes are attributed to a change in El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) properties and the associated Indo-Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly pattern. Before the early 2000s, slow-decaying ENSO events induce large SST anomalies in the northern Indian Ocean during the following summer. The northern Indian Ocean SST anomalies act together with the opposite-sign SST anomalies in the tropical central Pacific, leading to a zonally extended anomalous lower-level cyclonic (anticyclonic) circulation and an elongated rainfall anomaly band over the western Pacific. After the early 2000s, ENSO events have a shortened period and a weakened amplitude, and the eastern Pacific SST anomalies tend to undergo a phase transition from winter to summer. Consequently, the influence of ENSO on the Indian Ocean SST anomalies is weakened and the contribution of the northern Indian Ocean SST anomalies to the western Pacific summer rainfall variability becomes insignificant. In this case, the western North Pacific summer rainfall is mainly dominated by the well-developed tropical Pacific SST forcing following the early decay of ENSO events. The potential physical mechanism for the two types of ENSO influences is validated with regional decoupled Community Earth System Model experiments.

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