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Jing-Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
,
Swadhin Behera
,
Satoru Shingu
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

Predictabilities of tropical climate signals are investigated using a relatively high resolution Scale Interaction Experiment–Frontier Research Center for Global Change (FRCGC) coupled GCM (SINTEX-F). Five ensemble forecast members are generated by perturbing the model’s coupling physics, which accounts for the uncertainties of both initial conditions and model physics. Because of the model’s good performance in simulating the climatology and ENSO in the tropical Pacific, a simple coupled SST-nudging scheme generates realistic thermocline and surface wind variations in the equatorial Pacific. Several westerly and easterly wind bursts in the western Pacific are also captured.

Hindcast results for the period 1982–2001 show a high predictability of ENSO. All past El Niño and La Niña events, including the strongest 1997/98 warm episode, are successfully predicted with the anomaly correlation coefficient (ACC) skill scores above 0.7 at the 12-month lead time. The predicted signals of some particular events, however, become weak with a delay in the phase at mid and long lead times. This is found to be related to the intraseasonal wind bursts that are unpredicted beyond a few months of lead time. The model forecasts also show a “spring prediction barrier” similar to that in observations. Spatial SST anomalies, teleconnection, and global drought/flood during three different phases of ENSO are successfully predicted at 9–12-month lead times.

In the tropical North Atlantic and southwestern Indian Ocean, where ENSO has predominant influences, the model shows skillful predictions at the 7–12-month lead times. The distinct signal of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) event in 1994 is predicted at the 6-month lead time. SST anomalies near the western coast of Australia are also predicted beyond the 12-month lead time because of pronounced decadal signals there.

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Jing-Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
,
Erich Roeckner
,
Gurvan Madec
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

The cold tongue in the tropical Pacific extends too far west in most current ocean–atmosphere coupled GCMs (CGCMs). This bias also exists in the relatively high-resolution SINTEX-F CGCM despite its remarkable performance of simulating ENSO variations. In terms of the importance of air–sea interactions to the climatology formation in the tropical Pacific, several sensitivity experiments with improved coupling physics have been performed in order to reduce the cold-tongue bias in CGCMs.

By allowing for momentum transfer of the ocean surface current to the atmosphere [full coupled simulation (FCPL)] or merely reducing the wind stress by taking the surface current into account in the bulk formula [semicoupled simulation (semi-CPL)], the warm-pool/cold-tongue structure in the equatorial Pacific is simulated better than that of the control simulation (CTL) in which the movement of the ocean surface is ignored for wind stress calculation. The reduced surface zonal current and vertical entrainment owing to the reduced easterly wind stress tend to produce a warmer sea surface temperature (SST) in the western equatorial Pacific. Consequently, the dry bias there is much reduced. The warming tendency of the SST in the eastern Pacific, however, is largely suppressed by isopycnal diffusion and meridional advection of colder SST from south of the equator due to enhanced coastal upwelling near Peru. The ENSO signal in the western Pacific and its global teleconnection in the North Pacific are simulated more realistically.

The approach as adopted in the FCPL run is able to generate a correct zonal SST slope and efficiently reduce the cold-tongue bias in the equatorial Pacific. The surface easterly wind itself in the FCPL run is weakened, reducing the easterly wind stress further. This is related with a weakened zonal Walker cell in the atmospheric boundary layer over the eastern Pacific and a new global angular momentum balance of the atmosphere associated with reduced westerly wind stress over the southern oceans.

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Tomoki Tozuka
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

The decadal variation in the tropical Indian Ocean is investigated using outputs from a 200-yr integration of the Scale Interaction Experiment-Frontier Research Center for Global Change (SINTEX-F1) ocean–atmosphere coupled model. The first EOF mode of the decadal bandpass- (9–35 yr) filtered sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) represents a basinwide mode and is closely related with the Pacific ENSO-like decadal variability. The second EOF mode shows a clear east–west SSTA dipole pattern similar to that of the interannual Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) and may be termed the decadal IOD. However, it is demonstrated that the decadal air–sea interaction in the Tropics can be a statistical artifact; it should be interpreted more correctly as decadal modulation of interannual IOD events (i.e., asymmetric or skewed occurrence of positive and negative events). Heat budget analysis has revealed that the occurrence of IOD events is governed by variations in the southward Ekman heat transport across 15°S and variations in the Indonesian Throughflow associated with the ENSO. The variations in the southward Ekman heat transport are related to the Mascarene high activities.

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Jing-Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
,
Swadhin Behera
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has profound socioeconomic impacts on not only the countries surrounding the Indian Ocean but also various parts of the world. A forecast system is developed based on a relatively high-resolution coupled ocean–atmosphere GCM with only sea surface temperature (SST) information assimilated. Retrospective ensemble forecasts of the IOD index for the past two decades show skillful scores with up to a 3–4-month lead and a winter prediction barrier associated with its intrinsic strong seasonal phase locking. Prediction skills of the SST anomalies in both the eastern and western Indian Ocean are higher than those of the IOD index; this is because of the influences of ENSO, which is highly predictable. The model predicts the extreme positive IOD event in 1994 at a 2–3-season lead. The strong 1997 cold signal in the eastern pole, however, is not well predicted owing to errors in model initial subsurface conditions. The real-time forecast system with more ensembles successfully predicted the weak negative IOD event in the 2005 boreal fall and La Niña condition in the 2005/06 winter. Recent experimental real-time forecasts showed that a positive IOD event would appear in the 2006 summer and fall accompanied by a possible weak El Niño condition in the equatorial Pacific.

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Jing-Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
,
Swadhin K. Behera
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

Using a fully coupled global ocean–atmosphere general circulation model assimilating only sea surface temperature, the authors found for the first time that several El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events over the past two decades can be predicted at lead times of up to 2 yr. The El Niño condition in the 1997/98 winter can be predicted to some extent up to about a 1½-yr lead but with a weak intensity and large phase delay in the prediction of the onset of this exceptionally strong event. This is attributed to the influence of active and intensive stochastic westerly wind bursts during late 1996 to mid-1997, which are generally unpredictable at seasonal time scales. The cold signals in the 1984/85 and 1999/2000 winters during the peak phases of the past two long-lasting La Niña events are predicted well up to a 2-yr lead. Amazingly, the mild El Niño–like event of 2002/03 is also predicted well up to a 2-yr lead, suggesting a link between the prolonged El Niño and the tropical Pacific decadal variability. Seasonal climate anomalies over vast parts of the globe during specific ENSO years are also realistically predicted up to a 2-yr lead for the first time.

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Mathew Koll Roxy
,
Kapoor Ritika
,
Pascal Terray
, and
Sébastien Masson

Abstract

Recent studies have pointed out an increased warming over the Indian Ocean warm pool (the central-eastern Indian Ocean characterized by sea surface temperatures greater than 28.0°C) during the past half-century, although the reasons behind this monotonous warming are still debated. The results here reveal a larger picture—namely, that the western tropical Indian Ocean has been warming for more than a century, at a rate faster than any other region of the tropical oceans, and turns out to be the largest contributor to the overall trend in the global mean sea surface temperature (SST). During 1901–2012, while the Indian Ocean warm pool went through an increase of 0.7°C, the western Indian Ocean experienced anomalous warming of 1.2°C in summer SSTs. The warming of the generally cool western Indian Ocean against the rest of the tropical warm pool region alters the zonal SST gradients, and has the potential to change the Asian monsoon circulation and rainfall, as well as alter the marine food webs in this biologically productive region. The current study using observations and global coupled ocean–atmosphere model simulations gives compelling evidence that, besides direct contribution from greenhouse warming, the long-term warming trend over the western Indian Ocean during summer is highly dependent on the asymmetry in the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) teleconnection, and the positive SST skewness associated with ENSO during recent decades.

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Tomoki Tozuka
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

Using outputs from the SINTEX-F1 coupled GCM, the thermodynamics of ENSO events and its relation with the seasonal cycle are investigated. Simulated El Niño events are first classified into four groups depending on during which season the Niño-3.4 sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA) index (5°S–5°N, 120°–170°W) reaches its peak. Although the heat content of the tropical Pacific decreases for all four types, the tropical Pacific loses about twice as much during an El Niño that peaks during winter compared with one that peaks during summer. The surface heat flux, the southward heat transport at 15°S, and the Indonesian Throughflow heat transport contribute constructively to this remarkable seasonal difference. It is shown that the Indonesian Throughflow supplies anomalous heat from the Indian Ocean, especially during the summer El Niño–like event. Changes in the basic state provided by the seasonal cycle cause differences in the atmospheric response to the SSTA, which in turn lead to the difference between the surface heat flux and the meridional heat transport anomaly.

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Takeshi Izumo
,
Clémentde Boyer Montégut
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Swadhin K. Behera
,
Sébastien Masson
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

The Indian summer monsoon rainfall has complex, regionally heterogeneous, interannual variations with huge socioeconomic impacts, but the underlying mechanisms remain uncertain. The upwelling along the Somalia and Oman coasts starts in late spring, peaks during the summer monsoon, and strongly cools the sea surface temperature (SST) in the western Arabian Sea. They restrict the westward extent of the Indian Ocean warm pool, which is the main moisture source for the monsoon rainfall. Thus, variations of the Somalia–Oman upwelling can have significant impacts on the moisture transport toward India. Here the authors use both observations and an advanced coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model to show that a decrease in upwelling strengthens monsoon rainfall along the west coast of India by increasing the SST along the Somalia–Oman coasts, and thus local evaporation and water vapor transport toward the Indian Western Ghats (mountains). Further observational analysis reveals that such decreases in upwelling are caused by anomalously weak southwesterly winds in late spring over the Arabian Sea that are due to warm SST/increased precipitation anomalies over the Seychelles–Chagos thermocline ridge of the southwestern Indian Ocean (and vice versa for years with strong upwelling/weak west Indian summer monsoon rainfall). The latter SST/precipitation anomalies are often related to El Niño conditions and the strength of the Indonesian–Australian monsoon during the previous winter. This sheds new light on the ability to forecast the poorly predicted Indian monsoon rainfall on a regional scale, helped by a proper ocean observing/forecasting system in the western tropical Indian Ocean.

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Annalisa Cherchi
,
Silvio Gualdi
,
Swadhin Behera
,
Jing Jia Luo
,
Sebastien Masson
,
Toshio Yamagata
, and
Antonio Navarra

Abstract

The Indian summer monsoon (ISM) is one of the main components of the Asian summer monsoon. It is well known that one of the starting mechanisms of a summer monsoon is the thermal contrast between land and ocean and that sea surface temperature (SST) and moisture are crucial factors for its evolution and intensity. The Indian Ocean, therefore, may play a very important role in the generation and evolution of the ISM itself. A coupled general circulation model, implemented with a high-resolution atmospheric component, appears to be able to simulate the Indian summer monsoon in a realistic way. In particular, the features of the simulated ISM variability are similar to the observations.

In this study, the relationships between the ISM and tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) SST anomalies are investigated, as well as the ability of the coupled model to capture those connections. The recent discovery of the Indian Ocean dipole mode (IODM) may suggest new perspectives in the relationship between ISM and TIO SST. A new statistical technique, the coupled manifold, is used to investigate the TIO SST variability and its relation with the tropical Pacific Ocean (TPO). The analysis shows that the SST variability in the TIO contains a significant portion that is independent from the TPO variability. The same technique is used to estimate the amount of Indian rainfall variability that can be explained by the tropical Indian Ocean SST. Indian Ocean SST anomalies are separated in a part remotely forced from the tropical Pacific Ocean variability and a part independent from that. The relationships between the two SSTA components and the Indian monsoon variability are then investigated in detail.

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Suryachandra A. Rao
,
Sebastien Masson
,
Jing-Jia Luo
,
Swadhin K. Behera
, and
Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

Using 200 yr of coupled general circulation model (CGCM) results, causes for the termination of Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) events are investigated. The CGCM used here is the Scale Interaction Experiment-Frontier Research Center for Global Change (SINTEX-F1) model, which consists of a version of the European Community–Hamburg (ECHAM4.6) atmospheric model and a version of the Ocean Parallelise (OPA8.2) ocean general circulation model. This model reproduces reasonably well the present-day climatology and interannual signals of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The main characteristics of the intraseasonal disturbances (ISDs)/oscillations are also fairly well captured by this model. However, the eastward propagation of ISDs in the model is relatively fast in the Indian Ocean and stationary in the Pacific compared to observations.

A sudden reversal of equatorial zonal winds is observed, as a result of significant intraseasonal disturbances in the equatorial Indian Ocean in November–December of IOD events, which evolve independently of ENSO. A majority of these IOD events (15 out of 18) are terminated mainly because of the 20–40-day ISD activity in the equatorial zonal winds. Ocean heat budget analysis in the upper 50 m clearly shows that the initial warming after the peak of the IOD phenomenon is triggered by increased solar radiation owing to clear-sky conditions in the eastern Indian Ocean. Subsequently, the equatorial jets excited by the ISD deepen the thermocline in the southeastern equatorial Indian Ocean. This deepening of the thermocline inhibits the vertical entrainment of cool waters and therefore the IOD is terminated. IOD events that co-occur with ENSO are terminated owing to anomalous incoming solar radiation as a result of prevailing cloud-free skies. Further warming occurs seasonally through the vertical convergence of heat due to a monsoonal wind reversal along Sumatra–Java. On occasion, strong ISD activities in July–August terminated short-lived IOD events by triggering downwelling intraseasonal equatorial Kelvin waves.

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