Three anonymous reviewers provided careful comments on the submitted manuscript, which helped improve this article. Jian Ling thanks Anton Beljaars, Peter Bauer, and Frederic Vitart for hosting his visit to ECMWF. This study was supported by NSF Grant AGS-1062202. The online availability of the ERA-Interim products, TRMM rainfall data, ENSO index, SST, and MJO RMM index is highly appreciated.
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