Impact of the Equatorial Atlantic on the El Niño Southern Oscillation

Ding, Hui, Keenlyside, Noel S. and Latif, Mojib (2012) Impact of the Equatorial Atlantic on the El Niño Southern Oscillation Climate Dynamics, 28 (9-10). pp. 1965-1972. DOI 10.1007/s00382-011-1097-y.

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Abstract

Observations indicate that the Atlantic zonal mode influences El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific, as already suggested in previous studies. Here we demonstrate for the first time using partial coupled experiments that the Atlantic zonal mode indeed influences ENSO. The partial coupling experiments are performed by forcing the coupled general circulation model (ECHAM5/MPI-OM) with observed sea surface temperature (SST) in the Tropical Atlantic, but with full air-sea coupling allowed in the Pacific and Indian Ocean. The ensemble mean of a five member simulation reproduces the observational results well. Analysis of observations, reanalysis, and coupled model simulations all indicate the following mechanism: SST anomalies associated with the Atlantic zonal mode affect the Walker Circulation, driving westward wind anomalies over the equatorial Pacific during boreal summer. The wind stress anomalies increase the east-west thermocline slope and enhance the SST gradient across the Pacific; the Bjerknes positive feedback acts to amplify these anomalies favouring the development of a La Niña-like anomalies. The same mechanisms act for the cold phase of Atlantic zonal mode, but with opposite sign. In contrast to previous studies, the model shows that the influence on ENSO exists before 1970. Furthermore, no significant influence of the Tropical Atlantic on the Indian Monsoon precipitation is found in observation or model.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Climatology; ENSO; Atlantic zonal mode; Teleconnection; Bjerknes feedback
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s00382-011-1097-y
ISSN: 0930-7575
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2011 11:58
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 11:09
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/11916

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