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Ayako Seiki, Yukari N. Takayabu, Takuya Hasegawa, and Kunio Yoneyama

Abstract

The lack of westerly wind bursts (WWBs) when atmospheric intraseasonal variability (ISV) events occur from boreal spring to autumn is investigated by comparing two types of El Niño years with unmaterialized El Niño (UEN) years. Although high ocean heat content buildup and several ISV events propagating eastward are observed in all three types of years, few WWBs accompany these in the UEN years. The eddy kinetic energy budget analysis based on ISV shows that mean westerly winds in the lower troposphere facilitate the development of eddy disturbances, including WWBs, through convergence and meridional shear of zonal winds. In the UEN years, these westerly winds are retracted westward and do not reach the equatorial central Pacific mainly as a result of interannual components. In addition, positive sea surface temperature anomalies in the western Pacific, which are conducive to active convection, spread widely in a meridional direction centered on 15°N. Both westward-retracted mean westerlies and off-equatorial warming enhance off-equatorial eddies, which result in a reduction in equatorial eddies such as WWBs. The characteristics of the UEN years are significantly different from those observed during the eastern Pacific El Niño (EP-EN) years, which are characterized by anomalous cooling (warming) and suppressed (enhanced) convective eddies in the off-equatorial (equatorial) western Pacific. The central Pacific El Niño years show mixed features during both EP-EN and UEN years. Different background states not only in the equatorial region but also in the off-equatorial region can be a reason for the lack of WWBs in the UEN years.

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Saulo M. Soares, Kelvin J. Richards, Frank O. Bryan, and Kunio Yoneyama

Abstract

Scale interactions in the coupled ocean and atmosphere of the tropics play a crucial role in shaping the climate state and its spatial and temporal variability. The mechanisms driving the seasonal cycles of mixed layer (ML) temperature and salinity in the tropical south Indian Ocean (TSIO) are revisited and quantified using model and observations to form a basis on which to assess the cycle’s impact on shorter and longer time scale variability in the region. Budgets of ML heat for the western, central, and eastern TSIO in both model and observations indicate that seasonality in ML temperature is driven by surface heat fluxes in all regions; ocean processes, however, are essential to explain east–west differences in the cycle. In contrast, the salt budgets show that ML salinity in the west and central regions of the TSIO is driven by horizontal advection, with salinity increasing during austral winter mainly due to meridional advection, and freshening during spring–summer due to zonal advection; in the east, no single mechanism appears to dominate ML salinity seasonality. The ML seasonal cycle across the entire region is very much influenced by the basin-scale adjustment that occurs in response to monsoon winds in the eastern side of the basin. Zonal advection, as part of the adjustment process, is the key mechanism responsible for bringing fresher/colder waters from the east to the central and western TSIO during austral spring, leading to a lag in the coldest ML temperatures in the east relative to the west/central TSIO, and effectively coupling the eastern and western TSIO beyond simply Rossby wave dynamics.

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