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  • Author or Editor: Yi Jin x
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John D. Farrara
and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

The interannual variability in the southwest U.S. monsoon and its relationship to sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies is investigated via experiments conducted with the University of California, Los Angeles, atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM). When the model is run without interannual variations in SSTs at the lower boundary, the simulation of the climatological mean monsoon is quite similar to the observed. In addition, the interannual precipitation variance and wet minus dry monsoon composite differences in the precipitation and monsoon circulation are largely realistic.

When interannual variations in SSTs are introduced, the simulated interannual precipitation variance over the southwest U.S. monsoon region does not increase. Nor do SSTs seem to be important in selecting for wet or dry monsoons in this simulation, as there is little correspondence between observed wet and dry monsoon years and simulated wet and dry years. These results were confirmed through a 20-member ensemble of shorter seasonal simulations forced by an SST anomaly field corresponding to that observed for a wet minus dry southwest U.S. monsoon composite.

When the AGCM is coupled to a mixed-layer ocean model, the pattern of SST anomalies generated in association with wet and dry monsoons is remarkably similar to that observed: there is a large area of positive SST anomalies in the subtropical eastern Pacific Ocean and weaker negative anomalies in the midlatitude North Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. It is demonstrated that the SST anomalies in the Pacific Ocean are forced by anomalies in the net surface solar radiative flux from the atmosphere associated with variations in planetary boundary layer stratus clouds; these variations are enhanced by a positive feedback between SST and stratus cloud variations. The anomalies in the Gulf of Mexico are associated with anomalous latent heat fluxes there. It is concluded that internal atmospheric variations are capable of 1) producing interannual variations in the southwest U.S. monsoon that are comparable to those observed, and 2) thermodynamically forcing the SST anomalies in the adjacent Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that are observed to accompany these variations. The implications of these results for seasonal forecasting are rather pessimistic since variations associated with internal atmospheric processes cannot be predicted on seasonal timescales.

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Hsun-Ying Kao
and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

Surface observations and subsurface ocean assimilation datasets are examined to contrast two distinct types of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropical Pacific: an eastern-Pacific (EP) type and a central-Pacific (CP) type. An analysis method combining empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis and linear regression is used to separate these two types. Correlation and composite analyses based on the principal components of the EOF were performed to examine the structure, evolution, and teleconnection of these two ENSO types. The EP type of ENSO is found to have its SST anomaly center located in the eastern equatorial Pacific attached to the coast of South America. This type of ENSO is associated with basinwide thermocline and surface wind variations and shows a strong teleconnection with the tropical Indian Ocean. In contrast, the CP type of ENSO has most of its surface wind, SST, and subsurface anomalies confined in the central Pacific and tends to onset, develop, and decay in situ. This type of ENSO appears less related to the thermocline variations and may be influenced more by atmospheric forcing. It has a stronger teleconnection with the southern Indian Ocean. Phase-reversal signatures can be identified in the anomaly evolutions of the EP-ENSO but not for the CP-ENSO. This implies that the CP-ENSO may occur more as events or epochs than as a cycle. The EP-ENSO has experienced a stronger interdecadal change with the dominant period of its SST anomalies shifted from 2 to 4 yr near 1976/77, while the dominant period for the CP-ENSO stayed near the 2-yr band. The different onset times of these two types of ENSO imply that the difference between the EP and CP types of ENSO could be caused by the timing of the mechanisms that trigger the ENSO events.

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Kewei Lyu
,
Jin-Yi Yu
, and
Houk Paek

Abstract

The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) has been shown to be capable of exerting significant influences on the Pacific climate. In this study, the authors analyze reanalysis datasets and conduct forced and coupled experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) to explain why the winter North Pacific subtropical high strengthens and expands northwestward during the positive phase of the AMO. The results show that the tropical Atlantic warming associated with the positive AMO phase leads to a westward displacement of the Pacific Walker circulation and a cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean, thereby inducing anomalous descending motion over the central tropical Pacific. The descending motion then excites a stationary Rossby wave pattern that extends northward to produce a nearly barotropic anticyclone over the North Pacific. A diagnosis based on the quasigeostrophic vertical velocity equation reveals that the stationary wave pattern also results in enhanced subsidence over the northeastern Pacific via the anomalous advections of vorticity and temperature. The anomalous barotropic anticyclone and the enhanced subsidence are the two mechanisms that increase the sea level pressure over the North Pacific. The latter mechanism occurs to the southeast of the former one and thus is more influential in the subtropical high region. Both mechanisms can be produced in forced and coupled AGCMs but are displaced northward as a result of stationary wave patterns that differ from those observed. This explains why the model-simulated North Pacific sea level pressure responses to the AMO tend to be biased northward.

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Pengfei Tuo
,
Jin-Yi Yu
, and
Jianyu Hu

Abstract

This study finds that the correlation between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the activity of mesoscale oceanic eddies in the South China Sea (SCS) changed around 2004. The mesoscale eddy number determined from satellite altimetry observations using a geometry of the velocity vector method was significantly and negatively correlated with the Niño-3.4 index before 2004, but the correlation weakened and became insignificant afterward. Further analyses reveal that the ENSO–eddy relation is controlled by two major wind stress forcing mechanisms: one directly related to ENSO and the other indirectly related to ENSO through its subtropical precursor—the Pacific meridional modes (PMMs). Both mechanisms induce wind stress curl variations over the SCS that link ENSO to SCS eddy activities. While the direct ENSO mechanism always induces a negative ENSO–eddy correlation through the Walker circulation, the indirect mechanism is dominated by the northern PMM (nPMM), resulting in a negative ENSO–eddy correlation before 2004, and by the southern PMM (sPMM) after 2004, resulting in a positive ENSO–eddy correlation. As a result, the direct and indirect mechanisms enhance each other to produce a significant ENSO–eddy relation before 2004, but they cancel each other out, resulting in a weak ENSO–eddy relation afterward. The relative strengths of the northern and southern PMMs are the key to determining the ENSO–eddy relation and may be related to a phase change of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation.

Open access
Jin-Yi Yu
,
Fengpeng Sun
, and
Hsun-Ying Kao

Abstract

The Community Climate System Model, version 3 (CCSM3), is known to produce many aspects of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) realistically, but the simulated ENSO exhibits an overly strong biennial periodicity. Hypotheses on the cause of this excessive biennial tendency have thus far focused primarily on the model’s biases within the tropical Pacific. This study conducts CCSM3 experiments to show that the model’s biases in simulating the Indian Ocean mean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the Indian and Australian monsoon variability also contribute to the biennial ENSO tendency. Two CCSM3 simulations are contrasted: a control run that includes global ocean–atmosphere coupling and an experiment in which the air–sea coupling in the tropical Indian Ocean is turned off by replacing simulated SSTs with an observed monthly climatology. The decoupling experiment removes CCSM3’s warm bias in the tropical Indian Ocean and reduces the biennial variability in Indian and Australian monsoons by about 40% and 60%, respectively. The excessive biennial ENSO is found to reduce dramatically by about 75% in the decoupled experiment. It is shown that the biennial monsoon variability in CCSM3 excites an anomalous surface wind pattern in the western Pacific that projects well into the wind pattern associated with the onset phase of the simulated biennial ENSO. Therefore, the biennial monsoon variability is very effective in exciting biennial ENSO variability in CCSM3. The warm SST bias in the tropical Indian Ocean also increases ENSO variability by inducing stronger mean surface easterlies along the equatorial Pacific, which strengthen the Pacific ocean–atmosphere coupling and enhance the ENSO intensity.

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Jiepeng Chen
,
Jin-Yi Yu
,
Xin Wang
, and
Tao Lian

ABSTRACT

Previous studies linked the increase of the middle and low reaches of the Yangtze River (MLRYR) rainfall to tropical Indian Ocean warming during extreme El Niños’ (e.g., 1982/83 and 1997/98 extreme El Niños) decaying summer. This study finds the linkage to be different for the recent 2015/16 extreme El Niño’s decaying summer, during which the above-normal rainfalls over MLRYR and northern China are respectively linked to southeastern Indian Ocean warming and western tropical Indian Ocean cooling in sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The southeastern Indian Ocean warming helps to maintain the El Niño–induced anomalous lower-level anticyclone over the western North Pacific Ocean and southern China, which enhances moisture transport to increase rainfall over MLRYR. The western tropical Indian Ocean cooling first enhances the rainfall over central-northern India through a regional atmospheric circulation, the latent heating of which further excites a midlatitude Asian teleconnection pattern (part of circumglobal teleconnection) that results in an above-normal rainfall over northern China. The western tropical Indian Ocean cooling during the 2015/16 extreme El Niño is contributed by the increased upward latent heat flux anomalies associated with enhanced surface wind speeds, opposite to the earlier two extreme El Niños.

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Jin-Yi Yu
,
Hsun-Ying Kao
, and
Tong Lee

Abstract

Interannual sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the central equatorial Pacific consists of a component related to eastern Pacific SST variations (called Type-1 SST variability) and a component not related to them (called Type-2 SST variability). Lead–lagged regression and ocean surface-layer temperature balance analyses were performed to contrast their control mechanisms. Type-1 variability is part of the canonical, which is characterized by SST anomalies extending from the South American coast to the central Pacific, is coupled with the Southern Oscillation, and is associated with basinwide subsurface ocean variations. This type of variability is dominated by a major 4–5-yr periodicity and a minor biennial (2–2.5 yr) periodicity. In contrast, Type-2 variability is dominated by a biennial periodicity, is associated with local air–sea interactions, and lacks a basinwide anomaly structure. In addition, Type-2 SST variability exhibits a strong connection to the subtropics of both hemispheres, particularly the Northern Hemisphere. Type-2 SST anomalies appear first in the northeastern subtropical Pacific and later spread toward the central equatorial Pacific, being generated in both regions by anomalous surface heat flux forcing associated with wind anomalies. The SST anomalies undergo rapid intensification in the central equatorial Pacific through ocean advection processes, and eventually decay as a result of surface heat flux damping and zonal advection. The southward spreading of trade wind anomalies within the northeastern subtropics-to-central tropics pathway of Type-2 variability is associated with intensity variations of the subtropical high. Type-2 variability is found to become stronger after 1990, associated with a concurrent increase in the subtropical variability. It is concluded that Type-2 interannual variability represents a subtropical-excited phenomenon that is different from the conventional ENSO Type-1 variability.

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Jin-Yi Yu
,
Shu-Ping Weng
, and
John D. Farrara

Abstract

This study uses a series of coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model (CGCM) experiments to examine the roles of the Indian and Pacific Oceans in the transition phases of the tropospheric biennial oscillation (TBO) in the Indian–Australian monsoon system. In each of the three CGCM experiments, air–sea interactions are restricted to a certain portion of the Indo-Pacific Ocean by including only that portion of the ocean in the ocean model component of the CGCM. The results show that the in-phase TBO transition from a strong (weak) Indian summer monsoon to a strong (weak) Australian summer monsoon occurs more often in the CGCM experiments that include an interactive Pacific Ocean. The out-of-phase TBO transition from a strong (weak) Australian summer monsoon to a weak (strong) Indian summer monsoon occurs more often in the CGCM experiments that include an interactive Indian Ocean. The associated sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies are characterized by an ENSO-type pattern in the Pacific Ocean and basinwide warming/cooling in the Indian Ocean. The Pacific SST anomalies maintain large amplitude during the in-phase transition in the northern autumn and reverse their sign during the out-of-phase transition in the northern spring. On the other hand, the Indian Ocean SST anomalies maintain large amplitude during the out-of-phase monsoon transition and reverse their sign during the in-phase transition. These seasonally dependent evolutions of Indian and Pacific Ocean SST anomalies allow these two oceans to play different roles in the transition phases of the TBO in the Indian–Australian monsoon system.

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Jin-Yi Yu
,
Houk Paek
,
Eric S. Saltzman
, and
Tong Lee

Abstract

This study uncovers an early 1990s change in the relationships between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and two leading modes of the Southern Hemisphere (SH) atmospheric variability: the southern annular mode (SAM) and the Pacific–South American (PSA) pattern. During austral spring, while the PSA maintained a strong correlation with ENSO throughout the period 1948–2014, the SAM–ENSO correlation changed from being weak before the early 1990s to being strong afterward. Through the ENSO connection, PSA and SAM became more in-phase correlated after the early 1990s. The early 1990s is also the time when ENSO changed from being dominated by the eastern Pacific (EP) type to being dominated by the central Pacific (CP) type. Analyses show that, while the EP ENSO can excite only the PSA, the CP ENSO can excite both the SAM and PSA through tropospheric and stratospheric pathway mechanisms. The more in-phase relationship between SAM and PSA impacted the post-1990s Antarctic climate in at least two aspects: 1) a stronger Antarctic sea ice dipole structure around the Amundsen–Bellingshausen Seas due to intensified geopotential height anomalies over the region and 2) a shift in the phase relationships of surface air temperature anomalies among East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula. These findings imply that ENSO–Antarctic climate relations depend on the dominant ENSO type and that ENSO forcing has become more important to the Antarctic sea ice and surface air temperature variability in the past two decades and will in the coming decades if the dominance of CP ENSO persists.

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Yi Jin
,
Xuebin Zhang
,
John A. Church
, and
Xianwen Bao

Abstract

Projections of future sea level changes are usually based on global climate models (GCMs). However, the changes in shallow coastal regions, like the marginal seas near China, cannot be fully resolved in GCMs. To improve regional sea level simulations, a high-resolution (~8 km) regional ocean model is set up for the marginal seas near China for both the historical (1994–2015) and future (2079–2100) periods under representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. The historical ocean simulations are evaluated at different spatiotemporal scales, and the model is then integrated for the future period, driven by projected monthly climatological climate change signals from eight GCMs individually via both surface and open boundary conditions. The downscaled ocean changes derived by comparing historical and future experiments reveal greater spatial details than those from GCMs, such as a low dynamic sea level (DSL) center of −0.15 m in the middle of the South China Sea (SCS). As a novel test, the downscaled results driven by the ensemble mean forcings are almost identical with the ensemble average results from individually downscaled cases. Forcing of the DSL change and increased cyclonic circulation in the SCS are dominated by the climate change signals from the Pacific, while the DSL change in the East China marginal seas is caused by both local atmosphere forcing and signals from the Pacific. The method of downscaling developed in this study is a useful modeling protocol for adaptation and mitigation planning for future oceanic climate changes.

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