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T. N. Krishnamurti
,
David Bachiochi
,
Timothy LaRow
,
Bhaskar Jha
,
Mukul Tewari
,
D. R. Chakraborty
,
Ricardo Correa-Torres
, and
Darlene Oosterhof

Abstract

This study is based on a global coupled atmosphere–ocean model climate prediction that was designed to include 14 layers over the atmosphere and 17 layers within the ocean. In this model an 11-yr data assimilation includes physical initialization of the daily rainfall estimates. No flux corrections are included in the seasonal and annual forecasts of this coupled model. It is first shown that intraseasonal oscillation on the Madden–Julian timescale was an important feature during the onset of the El Niño of 1997. It is shown that this feature is retained in the model’s data assimilation and in the forecasts. The forecasts commence on 1 April 1997. The model forecasts showed an El Niño warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean waters commencing with the excitation of a Kelvin wave. The Niño-3.4 region acquired above-normal sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) by 15 May. The warm SSTs reached a peak by around January 1998. The El Niño made its demise by June 1998. The life cycle of the entire SSTA shows remarkable agreement to the observed anomalies over the Pacific Ocean. The subsurface temperature anomalies exhibit eastward propagating subsurface warm and cold water that are in phase with the El Niño and the La Niña features at the surface. Phenomenologically, this study is quite successful in showing the following.

  • Velocity potential anomalies at the 200-hPa level are good indicators for long-lasting dry spells. In particular the authors have remarkable success in predicting the long-lasting dry spell over Florida (which resulted in major fires over Florida during June 1998, some 14 months into the forecast) and over Indonesia (which resulted in major fires over Indonesia during September and October 1997). This was by far the most promising result of the coupled modeling study. This study also enumerates several areas of the climate of 1997–98 that were not reasonably simulated at the present resolution of the coupled model. The model does not exhibit very high skill in prediction of precipitation anomalies over the Asian–Australian monsoon world, which is most likely due to the resolution and organization of convection issues.

  • A realistic picture is shown of the North American monsoon system (the Mexico–Arizona monsoon) with wet conditions along 110°W, dry conditions along 95°W, and wet conditions along 80°W during the summers of 1997 and 1998. Furthermore, the model successfully shows a stronger North American monsoon system during the post–El Niño year 1998 compared to the El Niño year 1997. This is in accordance with the climatological and observational findings.

  • California rainfall during January and February 1998, arising from the eastward passage of disturbances from the Pacific Ocean, was successfully simulated, although the rainfall amounts at the model resolution were roughly one-third of the observed peak estimates.

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