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Yushi Morioka, Francois Engelbrecht, and Swadhin K. Behera

Abstract

Potential sources of decadal climate variability over southern Africa are examined by conducting in-depth analysis of available datasets and coupled general circulation model (CGCM) experiments. The observational data in recent decades show a bidecadal variability noticeable in the southern African rainfall with its positive phase of peak during 1999/2000. It is found that the rainfall variability is related to anomalous moisture advection from the southwestern Indian Ocean, where the anomalous sea level pressure (SLP) develops. The SLP anomaly is accompanied by anomalous sea surface temperature (SST). Both SLP and SST anomalies slowly propagate eastward from the South Atlantic to the southwestern Indian Ocean. The analysis of mixed layer temperature tendency reveals that the SST anomaly in the southwestern Indian Ocean is mainly due to eastward advection of the SST anomaly by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The eastward propagation of SLP and SST anomalies are also confirmed in the 270-yr outputs of the CGCM control experiment. However, in a sensitivity experiment where the SST anomalies in the South Atlantic are suppressed by the model climatology, the eastward propagation of the SLP anomaly from the South Atlantic disappears. These results suggest that the local air–sea coupling in the South Atlantic may be important for the eastward propagation of the SLP anomaly from the South Atlantic to the southwestern Indian Ocean. Although remote influences from the tropical Pacific and Antarctica were widely discussed, this study provides new evidence for the potential role of local air–sea coupling in the South Atlantic for the decadal climate variability over southern Africa.

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Yushi Morioka, Tomoki Tozuka, and Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

Using observational data and outputs from an ocean general circulation model, the growth and decay of the South Atlantic subtropical dipole (SASD) are studied. The SASD is the most dominant mode of interannual variability in the South Atlantic Ocean, and its sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly shows a dipole pattern that is oriented in the northeast–southwest direction. The positive (negative) pole develops because the warming of the mixed layer by the contribution from the climatological shortwave radiation is enhanced (suppressed) when the mixed layer is thinner (thicker) than normal. The mixed layer depth anomaly over the positive (negative) pole is due to the suppressed (enhanced) latent heat flux loss associated with the southward migration and strengthening of the subtropical high. During the decay phase, since the temperature difference between the mixed layer and the entrained water becomes anomalously large (small) as a result of the positive (negative) mixed layer temperature anomaly, the cooling of the mixed layer by the entrainment is enhanced (reduced). In addition, the cooling of the mixed layer by the contribution from the climatological latent heat flux is enhanced (suppressed) by the same thinner (thicker) mixed layer. This paper demonstrates the importance of taking into account the interannual variations of the mixed layer depth in discussing the growth and decay of SST anomalies associated with the SASD.

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Marvin Xiang Ce Seow, Yushi Morioka, and Tomoki Tozuka

Abstract

Influences from the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, and atmospheric internal variability on the South China Sea (SCS) atmospheric circulation and cold tongue (CT) variability in boreal winter and the relative roles of remote forcings at interannual time scales are studied using observational data, reanalysis products, and coupled model experiments. In the observation, strong CT years are accompanied by local cyclonic wind anomalies, which are an equatorial Rossby wave response to enhanced convection over the warmer-than-normal western equatorial Pacific associated with La Niña. Also, the cyclonic wind anomalies are an atmospheric Kelvin wave response to diabatic cooling anomalies linked to both the decaying late fall negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and winter atmospheric internal variability. Partially coupled experiments reveal that both the tropical Pacific air-sea coupling and atmospheric internal variability positively contribute to the coupled variability of the SCS CT, while the air-sea coupling over the tropical Indian Ocean weakens such variabilities. The northwest Pacific anticyclonic wind anomalies that usually precede El Niño–Southern Oscillation-independent negative IOD generated under the tropical Indian Ocean air-sea coupling undermine such variabilities.

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Yushi Morioka, J. V. Ratnam, Wataru Sasaki, and Yukio Masumoto

Abstract

Distinct pattern of interannual variability in sea surface temperature (SST) in the South Pacific [i.e., the South Pacific subtropical dipole (SPSD)] is examined using outputs from a coupled general circulation model. The SPSD appears as the second empirical orthogonal function (EOF) mode of the SST anomalies in the South Pacific and is associated with a northeast–southwest-oriented dipole of positive and negative SST anomalies in the central basin. The positive and negative SST anomaly poles start to develop during austral spring, reach their peak during austral summer, and gradually decay afterward. Close examination of mixed-layer heat balance yields that the SST anomaly poles develop mainly because warming of the mixed layer by shortwave radiation is modulated by the anomalous mixed-layer thickness. Over the positive (negative) pole, the mixed layer becomes thinner (thicker) than normal and acts to enhance (reduce) the warming of the mixed layer by climatological shortwave radiation. This thinner (thicker) mixed layer may be related to the suppressed (enhanced) evaporation associated with the overlying sea level pressure (SLP) anomalies. Weaker-than-normal surface wind also contributes to the thinner mixed layer in the case of the positive pole. Furthermore, the SLP anomalies are linked with the geopotential height anomalies in the upper troposphere and are associated with a stationary Rossby wave pattern along the westerly jet in the midlatitudes. This suggests that the SLP anomalies that generate the SPSD are not locally excited but remotely induced signals.

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Yushi Morioka, Koutarou Takaya, Swadhin K. Behera, and Yukio Masumoto

Abstract

The interannual variations in the summertime Mascarene high have great impacts on the southern African climate as well as the sea surface temperature (SST) in the southern Indian Ocean. A set of coupled general circulation model (CGCM) experiments are performed to examine a role of the interannual SST variability in the southern Indian Ocean on the summertime Mascarene high variability. The dominant interannual variability in the summertime Mascarene high shows the strengthening (weakening) in its southern part throughout the austral summer (December–February). However, in the experiment where the interannual SST variability in the southern Indian Ocean is suppressed, the strengthening (weakening) of the Mascarene high in its southern part does not persist until February. Also, the Mascarene high variability and its associated SST anomalies in December and January are found to increase (decrease) the southern African rainfall via more (less) moisture supply from the southern Indian Ocean. The Mascarene high variability is actually associated with a meridional dipole of positive and negative SST anomalies, which in turn produces that of the meridional SST gradient anomaly. This causes a southward (northward) shift of the storm tracks and hence the westerly jet, favoring the strengthening (weakening) of the Mascarene high in its southern part. This local ocean–atmosphere feedback effectively operates in February, when the meridional dipole of the SST anomalies reaches the maximum. These results provide new insight into the important role of the local SST variability in the summertime Mascarene high variability and hence the southern African climate.

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J. V. Ratnam, Takeshi Doi, Yushi Morioka, Pascal Oettli, Masami Nonaka, and Swadhin K. Behera

Abstract

The selective ensemble mean (SEM) technique is applied to the late spring and summer months (May–August) surface air temperature anomaly predictions of the Scale Interaction Experiment–Frontier Research Center for Global Change, version 2 (SINTEX-F2), coupled general circulation model over Japan. Using the Köppen–Geiger climatic classification we chose four regions over Japan for applying the SEM technique. The SINTEX-F2 ensemble members for the SEM are chosen based on the anomaly correlation coefficients (ACC) of the SINTEX-F2 predicted and observed surface air temperature anomalies. The SEM technique is applied to generate the forecasts of the surface air temperature anomalies for the period 1983–2018 using the selected members. Analysis shows the ACC skill score of the SEM prediction to be higher compared to the ACC skill score of predictions obtained by averaging all the 24 members of the SINTEX-F2 (ENSMEAN). The SEM predicted surface air temperature anomalies also have higher hit rate and lower false alarm rate compared to the ENSMEAN predicted anomalies over a range of temperature anomalies. The results indicate the SEM technique to be a simple and easy to apply method to improve the SINTEX-F2 predictions of surface air temperature anomalies over Japan. The better performance of the SEM in generating the surface air temperature anomalies can be partly attributed to realistic prediction of 850-hPa geopotential height anomalies over Japan.

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Liping Zhang, Thomas L. Delworth, William Cooke, Hugues Goosse, Mitchell Bushuk, Yushi Morioka, and Xiaosong Yang

Abstract

Previous studies have shown the existence of internal multidecadal variability in the Southern Ocean using multiple climate models. This variability, associated with deep ocean convection, can have significant climate impacts. In this work, we use sensitivity studies based on Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) models to investigate the linkage of this internal variability with the background ocean mean state. We find that mean ocean stratification in the subpolar region that is dominated by mean salinity influences whether this variability occurs, as well as its time scale. The weakening of background stratification favors the occurrence of deep convection. For background stratification states in which the low-frequency variability occurs, weaker ocean stratification corresponds to shorter periods of variability and vice versa. The amplitude of convection variability is largely determined by the amount of heat that can accumulate in the subsurface ocean during periods of the oscillation without deep convection. A larger accumulation of heat in the subsurface reservoir corresponds to a larger amplitude of variability. The subsurface heat buildup is a balance between advection that supplies heat to the reservoir and vertical mixing/convection that depletes it. Subsurface heat accumulation can be intensified both by an enhanced horizontal temperature advection by the Weddell Gyre and by an enhanced ocean stratification leading to reduced vertical mixing and surface heat loss. The paleoclimate records over Antarctica indicate that this multidecadal variability has very likely happened in past climates and that the period of this variability may shift with different climate background mean state.

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Yushi Morioka, Sébastien Masson, Pascal Terray, Chloé Prodhomme, Swadhin K. Behera, and Yukio Masumoto

Abstract

Interannual variations of sea surface temperature (SST) in the midlatitudes of the Southern Hemisphere play an important role in the rainfall variability over the surrounding countries by modulating synoptic-scale atmospheric disturbances. These are frequently associated with a northeast–southwest-oriented dipole of positive and negative SST anomalies in each oceanic basin, referred to as a subtropical dipole. This study investigates the role of tropical SST variability on the generation of subtropical dipoles by conducting SST-nudging experiments using a coupled general circulation model. In the experiments where the simulated SST in each tropical basin is nudged to the climatology of the observed SST, the subtropical dipoles tend to occur as frequently as the case in which the simulated SST is allowed to freely interact with the atmosphere. It is found that without the tropical SST variability, the zonally elongated atmospheric mode in the mid- to high latitudes, called the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), becomes dominant and the stationary Rossby waves related to the AAO induce the sea level pressure (SLP) anomalies in the midlatitudes, which, in turn, generate the subtropical dipoles. These results suggest that the tropical SST variability may not be necessary for generating the subtropical dipoles, and hence provide a useful insight into the important role of the AAO in the midlatitude climate variability.

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Yushi Morioka, Tomoki Tozuka, Sebastien Masson, Pascal Terray, Jing-Jia Luo, and Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

The growth and decay mechanisms of subtropical dipole modes in the southern Indian and South Atlantic Oceans and their impacts on southern African rainfall are investigated using results from a coupled general circulation model originally developed for predicting tropical climate variations. The second (most) dominant mode of interannual sea surface temperature (SST) variations in the southern Indian (South Atlantic) Ocean represents a northeast–southwest oriented dipole, now called subtropical dipole mode. The positive (negative) SST interannual anomaly pole starts to grow in austral spring and reaches its peak in February. In austral late spring, the suppressed (enhanced) latent heat flux loss associated with the variations in the subtropical high causes a thinner (thicker) than normal mixed layer thickness that, in turn, enhances (reduces) the warming of the mixed layer by the climatological shortwave radiation. The positive (negative) pole gradually decays in austral fall because the mixed layer cooling by the entrainment is enhanced (reduced), mostly owing to the larger (smaller) temperature difference between the mixed layer and the entrained water. The increased (decreased) latent heat loss due to the warmer (colder) SST also contributes to the decay of the positive (negative) pole. Although further verification using longer observational data is required, the present coupled model suggests that the South Atlantic subtropical dipole may play a more important role in rainfall variations over the southern African region than the Indian Ocean subtropical dipole.

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