Anomalous winter climate conditions in the Pacific rim during recent El Niño Modoki and El Niño events
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Weng, H., Behera, S.K. & Yamagata, T. Clim Dyn (2009) 32: 663. doi:10.1007/s00382-008-0394-6
Present work compares impacts of El Niño Modoki and El Niño on anomalous climate in the Pacific rim during boreal winters of 1979–2005. El Niño Modoki (El Niño) is associated with tripole (dipole) patterns in anomalies of sea-surface temperature, precipitation, and upper-level divergent wind in the tropical Pacific, which are related to multiple “boomerangs” of ocean-atmosphere conditions in the Pacific. Zonal and meridional extents of those “boomerangs” reflect their independent influences, which are seen from lower latitudes in the west to higher latitudes in the east. In the central Pacific, more moisture is transported from the tropics to higher latitudes during El Niño Modoki owing to displacement of the wet “boomerang” arms more poleward toward east. Discontinuities at outer “boomerang” arms manifest intense interactions between tropical and subtropical/extratropical systems. The Pacific/North American pattern and related climate anomalies in North America found in earlier studies are modified in very different ways by the two phenomena. The seesaw with the dry north and the wet south in the western USA is more likely to occur during El Niño Modoki, while much of the western USA is wet during El Niño. The moisture to the southwestern USA is transported from the northward shifted ITCZ during El Niño Modoki, while it is carried by the storms traveling along the southerly shifted polar front jet during El Niño. The East Asian winter monsoon related anticyclone is over the South China Sea during El Niño Modoki as compared to its position over the Philippine Sea during El Niño, causing opposite precipitation anomalies in the southern East Asia between the two phenomena.