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Juan Feng and Jianping Li

Abstract

The possible influences of two types of ENSO [i.e., the canonical ENSO and ENSO Modoki (EM)] on Hadley circulation (HC) during the boreal spring are investigated during 1979–2010. El Niño events are featured with a symmetric pattern in equatorial zonal-mean sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA), with a maximum around the equator. In contrast, the zonal-mean SSTA associated with El Niño Modoki events shows an asymmetric structure with a maximum around 10°N. The contrasting underlying thermal structures corresponding with ENSO and EM have opposite impacts on the simultaneous HC. In El Niño years, a symmetric anomalous meridional circulation is seen, with enhanced rising around the equator and anomalous descent at about 15°N and 20°S. In contrast, an asymmetric equatorial meridional circulation is observed for El Niño Modoki years, with anomalous ascent around 10°N and descent at about 10°S and 20°N. The contrasting meridional circulation anomalies within ENSO and EM are caused by their different meridional SSTA structure. This result is theoretically explained, indicating that anomalous meridional circulation is subject to the meridional SSTA gradient. Moreover, the observed results are reproduced in numerical experiments driven by anomalous warming in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. Thus, the authors conclude that the anomalous HC linked to ENSO and EM is induced by the accompanying meridional gradient in zonal-mean SSTA.

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Juan Feng, Jianping Li, and Yun Li

Abstract

Previous studies have raised the possibility that the recent decline in winter rainfall over southwest Western Australia (SWWA) is related to the concurrent upward trend in the southern annular mode (SAM). On the basis of an analysis of 60-yr (1948–2007) reanalysis and observed data, the authors suggest that the apparent inverse relationship between the SAM and SWWA winter rainfall (SWR) is caused by a single extreme year—1964. It is shown that both the negative and positive phases of the SAM have little impact on SWR in the case that data for 1964 are excluded from the analysis. In addition, for periods prior to and after 1964 in the case that data for 1964 are excluded, the apparent relationship between the SAM and SWR becomes insignificant, and the circulation anomalies with respect to SWR appear to be an SAM-like pattern for which the anomalies at high latitudes are not significant. The result indicates that the SAM does not significantly influence the winter rainfall over SWWA. Instead, the variation of SWR would be more closely linked to the variability in regional circulations.

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Juan Feng, Jianping Li, and Yun Li

Abstract

Using the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40), and precipitation data from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the variability and circulation features influencing southwest Western Australia (SWWA) winter rainfall are investigated. It is found that the climate of southwest Australia bears a strong seasonality in the annual cycle and exhibits a monsoon-like atmospheric circulation, which is called the southwest Australian circulation (SWAC) because of its several distinct features characterizing a monsoonal circulation: the seasonal reversal of winds, alternate wet and dry seasons, and an evident land–sea thermal contrast. The seasonal march of the SWAC in extended winter (May–October) is demonstrated by pentad data. An index based on the dynamics’ normalized seasonality was introduced to describe the behavior and variation of the winter SWAC. It is found that the winter rainfall over SWWA has a significant positive correlation with the SWAC index in both early (May–July) and late (August–October) winter. In weaker winter SWAC years, there is an anticyclonic anomaly over the southern Indian Ocean resulting in weaker westerlies and northerlies, which are not favorable for more rainfall over SWWA, and the opposite combination is true in the stronger winter SWAC years. The SWAC explains not only a large portion of the interannual variability of SWWA rainfall in both early and late winter but also the long-term drying trend over SWWA in early winter. The well-coupled SWAC–SWWA rainfall relationship seems to be largely independent of the well-known effects of large-scale atmospheric circulations such as the southern annular mode (SAM), El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), and ENSO Modoki (EM). The result offers qualified support for the argument that the monsoon-like circulation may contribute to the rainfall decline in early winter over SWWA. The external forcing of the SWAC is also explored in this study.

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Juan Feng, Jianping Li, and Fei Xie

Abstract

The variability of the boreal spring [March–May (MAM)] Hadley circulation (HC) is investigated, focusing on the long-term variation of the first principal mode for 1951–2008, which is an equatorially asymmetric mode (AM) with the rising branch located around 10°S. This mode explains about 70% of the variance of the MAM HC and shows an obvious upward trend and thus contributes to the strengthening of the MAM HC. The robust warming trends of sea surface temperature (SST) over the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) play an essential role in the variations of the MAM HC. When SST over the IPWP is warm, anomalous meridional circulation is induced with descending branches located in regions 30°–20°S and 5°–15°N and rising motion located near 10°S. The anomalous rising south of the equator is due to the inhomogeneous warming of SST over the IPWP. SST within the IPWP in the Southern Hemisphere shows a larger warming trend than that in the Northern Hemisphere. The position of the anomalous convergence associated with SST variations over the IPWP is aligned with the maximum meridional gradient of zonal mean SST, resulting in an equatorially asymmetric meridional circulation. This point is further established in theoretical analyses. However, the meridional SST gradient within the IPWP shows a decreasing trend, suggesting the associated anomalous meridional circulation intensifies, which in turn explains the strengthening of the MAM HC. Under this scenario, the accompanied descent in the regions of 30°–20°S and 5°–15°N is enhanced, implying a frequent drought in these regions during MAM.

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Juan Feng, Wen Chen, and Xiaocong Wang

Abstract

The El Niño Modoki–induced anomalous western North Pacific anticyclone (WNPAC) undergoes an interesting reintensification process in the El Niño Modoki decaying summer, the period when El Niño Modoki decays but warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the tropical North Atlantic (TNA) and cold SST anomalies over the central-eastern Pacific (CEP) dominate. In this study, the region (TNA or CEP) in which the SST anomalies exert a relatively important influence on reintensification of the WNPAC is investigated. Observational analysis demonstrates that when only anomalous CEP SST cooling occurs, the WNPAC experiences a weak reintensification. In contrast, when only anomalous TNA SST warming emerges, the WNPAC experiences a remarkable reintensification. Numerical simulation analysis demonstrates that even though the same magnitude of CEP SST cooling and TNA warming is respectively set to force the atmospheric general circulation model, the response of the WNPAC is still much stronger in the TNA warming experiment than in the CEP cooling experiment. Further analysis demonstrates that this difference is caused by the distinct location of the effective tropical forcing between the CEP SST cooling and TNA SST warming for producing a WNPAC. The CEP cooling-induced effective anomalous diabatic cooling is located in the central Pacific, by which the forced anticyclone becomes gradually weak from the central Pacific to the western North Pacific. Thus, a weak WNPAC is produced. In contrast, as the TNA SST warming–induced effective anomalous diabatic cooling is just located in the western North Pacific via a Kelvin wave–induced Ekman divergence process, the forced anticyclone is significant and powerful in the western North Pacific.

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Wen Chen, Juan Feng, and Renguang Wu

Abstract

The present study investigates the roles of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) in the relationship between the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) and the following East Asian summer monsoon (EASM). The variability of the EAWM is divided into an ENSO-related part named EAWMEN and an ENSO-unrelated part named EAWMres. Corresponding to a weak EAWMEN, an anomalous low-level anticyclone forms over the western North Pacific (WNP) and persists from winter to the following summer. This anticyclone enhances southerlies over the coast of East Asia in summer. Hence, a weak EAWMEN tends to be followed by a strong EASM and vice versa. As such, a link is established between the EAWMEN and the EASM. The persistence of this WNP anticyclone may be mainly attributed to the sea surface temperature anomalies associated with the ENSO-related EAWM part in the tropical Indian Ocean and the extratropical North Pacific. In contrast, corresponding to a weak EAWMres, the anomalous WNP anticyclone is only seen in winter, and there is no obvious relationship between the EAWMres and the following EASM. Therefore, the observed EAWM–EASM relationship is dominated by the winter monsoon variability associated with ENSO. It is found that the EAWMEN–EASM relationship is modulated by the PDO. There tends to be a much stronger EASM after a weak EAWMEN during the positive PDO phases than during the negative PDO phases.

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Juan Feng, Lin Wang, and Wen Chen

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Modulation of the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) on the behavior of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) in El Niño decaying years has been studied. When El Niño is in phase with the PDO (El Niño/high PDO), the low-level atmospheric anomalies are characterized by an anticyclone around the Philippines and a cyclone around Japan, inducing an anomalous tripolar rainfall pattern in China. In this case, the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) experiences a one-time slightly northward shift in July and then stays stationary from July to August. The corresponding anomalous tripolar rainfall pattern has weak subseasonal variations. When El Niño is out of phase with the PDO (El Niño/low PDO), however, the anomalous Philippines anticyclone has a much larger spatial domain, thereby causing an anomalous dipole rainfall pattern. Accordingly, WPSH experiences clearly two northward shifts. Therefore, the related dipole rainfall pattern has large subseasonal variations. One pronounced feature is that the positive rainfall anomalies shift northward from southern China in June to central China in July and finally to northern China in August.

The different El Niño–EASM relationships are caused by the influences of PDO on the decaying speed of El Niño. During the high PDO phase, El Niño decays slowly and has a strong anchor in the north Indian Ocean warming, which is responsible for the anomalous EASM. Comparatively, during the low PDO phase, El Niño decays rapidly and La Niña develops in summer, which induces different EASM anomalies from that during the high PDO phase. Additionally, PDO changes El Niño behaviors mainly via modifying the background tropical winds.

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Yun Li, Jianping Li, and Juan Feng

Abstract

Rainfall in both southwest Western Australia (SWWA) and North China (NC) has been declining substantially since the mid-1960s, which has led to a series of droughts in both regions since then. Using observed rainfall datasets in China and Australia and the NCEP reanalysis dataset during 1951–2008, it is found that the decline of SWWA rainfall occurs in early austral winter [May–July (MJJ)] while the reduction of NC rainfall is in late boreal summer [July–September (JAS)]. The relationship between SWWA MJJ rainfall and NC JAS rainfall during 1951–2008 is then examined, and it is found that a significant link exists between these two rainfall series with a correlation of 0.43 and this link remains after the data are detrended. In particular, this relationship accounts for up to 62% variance on interdecadal time scales, and seems to be driven by the poleward shift of the southern subtropical high ridge (SSHR) and the northern subtropical high ridge (NSHR) over longitudes 110°–150°E. The poleward shift of the SSHR may induce an anomalous anticyclone centered near the south Australian coast, resulting in anomalous easterlies of dry air to SWWA, while the poleward shift of the NSHR is associated with an anomalous anticyclone in East Asia near NC causing anomalous northeasterlies of dry air to NC. The poleward shift of SSHR/NSHR may be linked to the warming sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Indian-western Pacific. The results herein suggest that the poleward shifts of the SSHR and the NSHR instigated by the warming SSTs in the tropical Indian–western Pacific may have partially contributed to the rainfall reduction in both regions.

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Fei Zheng, Jianping Li, Juan Feng, Yanjie Li, and Yang Li

Abstract

Sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere is mainly determined by physical processes at the air–sea interface associated with the Southern Hemisphere annular mode (SAM). Both the austral summer [December–February (DJF)] and autumn [March–May (MAM)] SAM can imprint their signals on southern extratropical MAM SST. Here three approaches are employed to determine the relative importance of the DJF and MAM SAM in modulating southern extratropical MAM SST: a simple lead–lag correlation without SST decomposition, a decomposition method based on linear regression, and a new approach named the persistent signal decomposition (PSD). The results show that the DJF SAM plays a more important role than the MAM SAM in driving MAM large-scale southern extratropical SST anomalies, implying that MAM SST anomalies caused by the preceding DJF SAM would not be largely perturbed by the MAM SAM, and thus the DJF SAM can be regarded as an effective predictor for the following season’s climate. The PSD also provides an estimation of the contribution of atmospheric persistence and SST persistence toward cross-seasonal influence of the DJF SAM on MAM southern extratropical SST. The results show that this cross-seasonal influence is mainly caused by the SST persistence. The detection of the relative importance of the preceding and contemporaneous atmospheric signal in driving SSTA contributes to the understanding of air–sea interactions and helps to obtain better SST-based statistical predictions. The PSD has the potential to be employed in the North Atlantic and other extratropical oceans.

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Ting Liu, Jianping Li, Juan Feng, Xiaofan Wang, and Yang Li

Abstract

Recent work suggests that the boreal autumn Southern Hemisphere annular mode (SAM) favors a tripole pattern of winter precipitation anomalies in the Northern Hemisphere. This study focuses on the abilities of climate models that participated in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to reproduce the physical processes involved in this observed cross-seasonal connection. A systematic evaluation suggested that 16 out of 25 models were essentially capable of reproducing this cross-seasonal connection. Two categories of models were selected to explore the underlying reasons for these successful simulations. Models that successfully simulated the cross-seasonal relationship were placed in the type-I category, and these performed well in reproducing the related physical mechanism, known as the “coupled ocean–atmosphere bridge,” in terms of the SST variability associated with the SAM and response of the meridional circulation to these SST anomalies. In contrast, the type-II category of models showed poor performance in representing the related processes and associated feedbacks, and the model biases compromised the performance of the simulated cross-seasonal relationship. These results demonstrate that the capability of the CMIP5 models to reproduce SST variability associated with the boreal autumn SAM and related coupled ocean–atmosphere bridge process plays a decisive role in the successful simulation of the cross-seasonal relationship.

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