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Ji-Won Kim
,
Ting-Huai Chang
,
Ching-Teng Lee
, and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

Using observational data and model hindcasts produced by a coupled climate model, we examine the response of the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) to three types of El Niño: eastern Pacific (EP) and central Pacific I (CP-I) and II (CP-II) El Niños. The observational analysis shows that all three El Niño types weaken the EAWM with varying degrees of impact. The EP El Niño has the largest weakening effect, while the CP-II El Niño has the second largest, and the CP-I El Niño has the smallest. We find that diverse El Niño types impact the EAWM by altering the responses of two anomalous anticyclones during El Niño mature winter: the western North Pacific anticyclone (WNPAC) and Kuroshio anticyclone (KAC). The WNPAC responses are controlled by the Gill response and Indian Ocean warming processes that both respond to the eastern-to-central tropical Pacific precipitation anomalies. The KAC responses are controlled by a poleward wave propagation responding to the northwestern tropical Pacific precipitation anomalies. We find that the model hindcasts significantly underestimate the weakening effect during the EP and CP-II El Niños. These underestimations are related to a model deficiency in which it produces a too-weak WNPAC response during the EP El Niño and completely misses the KAC response during both types of El Niño. The too-weak WNPAC response is caused by the model deficiency of simulating too-weak eastern-to-central tropical Pacific precipitation anomalies. The lack of KAC response arises from the unrealistic response of the model’s extratropical atmosphere to the northwestern tropical Pacific precipitation anomalies.

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Kewei Lyu
,
Xuebin Zhang
,
John A. Church
,
Jianyu Hu
, and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

Low-frequency sea level variations with periods longer than interannual time scales have been receiving much attention recently, with the aim of distinguishing the anthropogenic regional sea level change signal from the natural fluctuations. Based on the available sea level products, this study finds that the dominant low-frequency sea level mode in the Pacific basin has both quasi-decadal variations and a multidecadal trend reversal in the early 1990s. The dominant sea level modes on these two time scales have different tropical structures: a west–east seesaw in the tropical Pacific on the multidecadal time scale and a dipole between the western and central tropical Pacific on the quasi-decadal time scale. These two sea level modes in the Pacific basin are closely related to the ENSO-like low-frequency climate variability on respective time scales but feature distinct surface wind forcing patterns and subbasin climate processes. The multidecadal sea level mode is associated with the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) and Aleutian low variations in the North Pacific and tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies toward the eastern basin, while the quasi-decadal sea level mode is accompanied by tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies centered in the central basin along with the North Pacific part, which resembles the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) and its oceanic expressions [i.e., the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) and the Victoria mode]. The authors further conclude that the ENSO-like low-frequency variability, which has dominant influences on the Pacific sea level and climate, comprises at least two distinct modes with different spatial structures on quasi-decadal and multidecadal time scales, respectively.

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Yu-Chiao Liang
,
Jin-Yi Yu
,
Eric S. Saltzman
, and
Fan Wang

Abstract

During 2013–15, prolonged near-surface warming in the northeastern Pacific was observed and has been referred to as the Pacific warm blob. Here, statistical analyses are conducted to show that the generation of the Pacific blob is closely related to the tropical Northern Hemisphere (TNH) pattern in the atmosphere. When the TNH pattern stays in its positive phase for extended periods of time, it generates prolonged blob events primarily through anomalies in surface heat fluxes and secondarily through anomalies in wind-induced ocean advection. Five prolonged (≥24 months) blob events are identified during the past six decades (1948–2015), and the TNH–blob relationship can be recognized in all of them. Although the Pacific decadal oscillation and El Niño can also induce an arc-shaped warming pattern near the Pacific blob region, they are not responsible for the generation of Pacific blob events. The essential feature of Pacific blob generation is the TNH-forced Gulf of Alaska warming pattern. This study also finds that the atmospheric circulation anomalies associated with the TNH pattern in the North Atlantic can induce SST variability akin to the so-called Atlantic cold blob, also through anomalies in surface heat fluxes and wind-induced ocean advection. As a result, the TNH pattern serves as an atmospheric conducting pattern that connects some of the Pacific warm blob and Atlantic cold blob events. This conducting mechanism has not previously been explored.

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Chang-Hoi Ho
,
Jong-Jin Baik
,
Joo-Hong Kim
,
Dao-Yi Gong
, and
Chung-Hsiung Sui

Abstract

The present work examines interdecadal variations of typhoon tracks in the western North Pacific (WNP) during the boreal summer (June–September) for the period 1951–2001. Typhoon tracks are expressed as percentage values of the total number of typhoon passages into a 5° × 5° latitude–longitude grid box with respect to the total number of typhoons formed in the WNP. The analysis period is divided into two interdecadal periods: ID1 (1951–79) and ID2 (1980–2001). From ID1 to ID2, typhoon passage frequency decreased significantly in the East China Sea and Philippine Sea, but increased slightly in the South China Sea. The time series of typhoon passage frequency over the East China Sea and South China Sea further reveal a regime shift in the late 1970s, while those over the Philippine Sea indicate a continuous downward trend of −9% decade−1.

The interdecadal changes in typhoon tracks are associated with the westward expansion of the subtropical northwestern Pacific high (SNPH) in the late 1970s. The expansion of the SNPH to the southeast coast of Asia may result in a larger elliptic pathway of typhoon migration. This is consistent with the westward shift of the typhoon tracks from ID1 to ID2, resulting in an increase of typhoon passage frequency in the South China Sea and a decrease in the East China Sea. The change of typhoon tracks is partly due to the westward shift of major typhoon formation regions associated with a warmer sea surface temperature in the South China Sea. The decreasing typhoon passage frequency over the Philippine Sea is due to less typhoon formation in recent decades. This is consistent with the decreasing cyclonic relative vorticity in the lower troposphere.

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Jin-Yi Yu
,
Pei-ken Kao
,
Houk Paek
,
Huang-Hsiung Hsu
,
Chih-wen Hung
,
Mong-Ming Lu
, and
Soon-Il An

Abstract

The ocean–atmosphere coupling in the northeastern subtropical Pacific is dominated by a Pacific meridional mode (PMM), which spans between the extratropical and tropical Pacific and plays an important role in connecting extratropical climate variability to the occurrence of El Niño. Analyses of observational data and numerical model experiments were conducted to demonstrate that the PMM (and the subtropical Pacific coupling) experienced a rapid strengthening in the early 1990s and that this strengthening is related to an intensification of the subtropical Pacific high caused by a phase change of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). This PMM strengthening favored the development of more central Pacific (CP)-type El Niño events. The recent shift from more conventional eastern Pacific (EP) to more CP-type El Niño events can thus be at least partly understood as a Pacific Ocean response to a phase change in the AMO.

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Zeng-Zhen Hu
,
Arun Kumar
,
Bohua Huang
,
Jieshun Zhu
,
Michelle L’Heureux
,
Michael J. McPhaden
, and
Jin-Yi Yu

Abstract

Following the interdecadal shift of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) properties that occurred in 1976/77, another regime shift happened in 1999/2000 that featured a decrease of variability and an increase in ENSO frequency. Specifically, the frequency spectrum of Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature shifted from dominant variations at quasi-quadrennial (~4 yr) periods during 1979–99 to weaker fluctuations at quasi-biennial (~2 yr) periods during 2000–18. Also, the spectrum of warm water volume (WWV) index had almost no peak in 2000–18, implying a nearly white noise process. The regime shift was associated with an enhanced zonal gradient of the mean state, a westward shift in the atmosphere–ocean coupling in the tropical Pacific, and an increase in the static stability of the troposphere. This shift had several important implications. The whitening of the subsurface ocean temperature led to a breakdown of the relationship between WWV and ENSO, reducing the efficacy of WWV as a key predictor for ENSO and thus leading to a decrease in ENSO prediction skill. Another consequence of the higher ENSO frequency after 1999/2000 was that the forecasted peak of sea surface temperature anomaly often lagged that observed by several months, and the lag increased with the lead time. The ENSO regime shift may have altered ENSO influences on extratropical climate. Thus, the regime shift of ENSO in 1999/2000 as well as the model default may account for the higher false alarm and lower skill in predicting ENSO since 1999/2000.

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Chu-Chun Chen
,
Min-Hui Lo
,
Eun-Soon Im
,
Jin-Yi Yu
,
Yu-Chiao Liang
,
Wei-Ting Chen
,
Iping Tang
,
Chia-Wei Lan
,
Ren-Jie Wu
, and
Rong-You Chien

Abstract

Tropical deforestation can result in substantial changes in local surface energy and water budgets, and thus in atmospheric stability. These effects may in turn yield changes in precipitation. The Maritime Continent (MC) has undergone severe deforestation during the past few decades but it has received less attention than the deforestation in the Amazon and Congo rain forests. In this study, numerical deforestation experiments are conducted with global (i.e., Community Earth System Model) and regional climate models (i.e., Regional Climate Model version 4.6) to investigate precipitation responses to MC deforestation. The results show that the deforestation in the MC region leads to increases in both surface temperature and local precipitation. Atmospheric moisture budget analysis reveals that the enhanced precipitation is associated more with the dynamic component than with the thermodynamic component of the vertical moisture advection term. Further analyses on the vertical profile of moist static energy indicate that the atmospheric instability over the deforested areas is increased as a result of anomalous moistening at approximately 800–850 hPa and anomalous warming extending from the surface to 750 hPa. This instability favors ascending air motions, which enhance low-level moisture convergence. Moreover, the vertical motion increases associated with the MC deforestation are comparable to those generated by La Niña events. These findings offer not only mechanisms to explain the local climatic responses to MC deforestation but also insights into the possible reasons for disagreements among climate models in simulating the precipitation responses.

Open access
Justin Sheffield
,
Suzana J. Camargo
,
Rong Fu
,
Qi Hu
,
Xianan Jiang
,
Nathaniel Johnson
,
Kristopher B. Karnauskas
,
Seon Tae Kim
,
Jim Kinter
,
Sanjiv Kumar
,
Baird Langenbrunner
,
Eric Maloney
,
Annarita Mariotti
,
Joyce E. Meyerson
,
J. David Neelin
,
Sumant Nigam
,
Zaitao Pan
,
Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas
,
Richard Seager
,
Yolande L. Serra
,
De-Zheng Sun
,
Chunzai Wang
,
Shang-Ping Xie
,
Jin-Yi Yu
,
Tao Zhang
, and
Ming Zhao

Abstract

This is the second part of a three-part paper on North American climate in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) that evaluates the twentieth-century simulations of intraseasonal to multidecadal variability and teleconnections with North American climate. Overall, the multimodel ensemble does reasonably well at reproducing observed variability in several aspects, but it does less well at capturing observed teleconnections, with implications for future projections examined in part three of this paper. In terms of intraseasonal variability, almost half of the models examined can reproduce observed variability in the eastern Pacific and most models capture the midsummer drought over Central America. The multimodel mean replicates the density of traveling tropical synoptic-scale disturbances but with large spread among the models. On the other hand, the coarse resolution of the models means that tropical cyclone frequencies are underpredicted in the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific. The frequency and mean amplitude of ENSO are generally well reproduced, although teleconnections with North American climate are widely varying among models and only a few models can reproduce the east and central Pacific types of ENSO and connections with U.S. winter temperatures. The models capture the spatial pattern of Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) variability and its influence on continental temperature and West Coast precipitation but less well for the wintertime precipitation. The spatial representation of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) is reasonable, but the magnitude of SST anomalies and teleconnections are poorly reproduced. Multidecadal trends such as the warming hole over the central–southeastern United States and precipitation increases are not replicated by the models, suggesting that observed changes are linked to natural variability.

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