Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 3–4, pp 607–621 | Cite as

Predictability of Northwest Pacific climate during summer and the role of the tropical Indian Ocean

  • Jasti Sriranga Chowdary
  • Shang-Ping Xie
  • Jing-Jia Luo
  • Jan Hafner
  • Swadhin Behera
  • Yukio Masumoto
  • Toshio Yamagata


A seasonal forecast system based on a global, fully coupled ocean–atmosphere general circulation model is used to (1) evaluate the interannual predictability of the Northwest Pacific climate during June–August following El Niño [JJA(1)], and (2) examine the contribution from the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) variability. The model retrospective forecast for 1983–2006 captures major modes of atmospheric variability over the Northwest Pacific during JJA(1), including a rise in sea level pressure (SLP), an anomalous anticyclone at the surface, and a reduction in subtropical rainfall, and increased rainfall to the northeast over East Asia. The anomaly correlation coefficient (ACC) for the leading principal components (PCs) of SLP and rainfall stays above 0.5 for lead time up to 3–4 months. The predictability for zonal wind is slightly better. An additional experiment is performed by prescribing the SST climatology over the TIO. In this run, designated as NoTIO, the Northwest Pacific anticyclone during JJA(1) weakens considerably and reduces its westward extension. Without an interactive TIO, the ACC for PC prediction drops significantly. To diagnose the TIO effect on the circulation, the differences between the two runs (Control minus NoTIO) are analyzed. The diagnosis shows that El Nino causes the TIO SST to rise and to remain high until JJA(1). In response to the higher than usual SST, precipitation increases over the TIO and excites a warm atmospheric Kelvin wave, which propagates into the western Pacific along the equator. The decrease in equatorial SLP drives northeasterly wind anomalies, induces surface wind divergence, and suppresses convection over the subtropical Northwest Pacific. An anomalous anticyclone forms in the Northwest Pacific, and the intensified moisture transport on its northwest flank causes rainfall to increase over East Asia. In the NoTIO experiment, the Northwest Pacific anticyclone weakens but does not disappear. Other mechanisms for maintaining this anomalous circulation are discussed.


ENSO Tropical Indian Ocean Atmospheric Kelvin wave Northwest Pacific climate Seasonal forecast 



This work is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). We thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that helped to improve our manuscript and H. Annamalai, and J. P. McCreary for helpful discussions. We acknowledge M. Izumi, and G. Speidel for careful editing of the revised manuscript. The authors also thank Nat Johnson and Edwin K. Schneider for helpful comments and corrections. Figures are prepared in Grads. IPRC/SOEST publication 640/7823.


  1. Annamalai H, Liu P, Xie S-P (2005) Southwest Indian Ocean SST variability: its local effect and remote influence on Asian monsoons. J Clim 18:4150–4167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Behera SK, Luo J-J, Masson S, Delecluse P, Gualdi S, Navarra A, Yamagata T (2005) Paramount impact of the Indian Ocean dipole on the East African short rain: a CGCM study. J Clim 18:4514–4530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chowdary JS, Gnanaseelan C, Xie S-P (2009) Westward propagation of barrier layer formation in the 2006–07 Rossby wave event over the tropical southwest Indian Ocean. Geophys Res Lett 36:L04607. doi: 10.1029/2008GL036642
  4. Du Y, Xie S-P, Huang G, Hu K-M (2009) Role of air–sea interaction in the long persistence of El Niño-induced North Indian Ocean warming. J Clim 22:2023–2038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gill AE (1980) Some simple solutions for heat-induced tropical circulation. Q J R Meteor Soc 106:447–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gualdi S, Navarra A, Guilyardi E, Delecluse P (2003) Assessment of the tropical Indo-Pacific climate in the SINTEX CGCM. Ann Geophys 46:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harrison D, Larkin NK (1996) The COADS sea level pressure signal: a near-global El Niño composite and time series view, 1946–1993. J Clim 9:3025–3055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Huang B, Kinter JL III (2002) Interannual variability in the tropical Indian Ocean. J Geophys Res 107:3199. doi: 10.1029/2001JC001278 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Huang R, Chen W, Yang B, Zhang R (2004) Recent advances in studies of the interaction between the East Asian winter and summer monsoons and ENSO cycle. Adv Atmos Sci 21:407–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Izumo T, Montégut CdB, Luo J-J, Behera SK, Masson S, Yamagata T (2008) The role of the western Arabian Sea upwelling in Indian monsoon rainfall variability. J Clim 21:5603–5623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kanamitsu M, Ebisuzaki W, Woollen J, Yang S-K, Hnilo JJ, Fiorino M, Potter GL (2002) NCEP/DOE AMIP-II reanalysis (R-2). Bull Amer Meteor Soc 83:1631–1643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kang IS, Jin K et al (2002) Intercomparison of atmospheric GCM simulated anomalies associated with the 1997/98 El Niño. J Clim 15:2791–2805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kawamura R (1998) A possible mechanism of the Asian summer-ENSO coupling. J Meteor Soc Japan 76:1009–1027Google Scholar
  14. Klein SA, Soden BJ, Lau NC (1999) Remote sea surface temperature variations during ENSO: evidence for a tropical atmospheric bridge. J Clim 12:917–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kug J-S, Li T, An S-I, Kang I-S, Luo J-J, Masson S, Yamagata T (2006) Role of the ENSO-Indian Ocean coupling on ENSO variability in a coupled GCM. Geophys Res Lett 33:L09710. doi: 10.1029/2005GL024916 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lau NC, Ploshay JJ (2009) Simulation of synoptic- and subsynoptic-scale phenomena associated with the East Asian summer monsoon using a high-resolution GCM. Mon Weather Rev 137:137–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee E-J, Jhun J-G, Park C-K (2005) Remote connection of the northeast Asian summer rainfall variation revealed by a newly defined monsoon index. J Clim 18:4381–4393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Luo J-J, Masson S, Roeckner E, Madec M, Yamagata T (2005a) Reducing climatology bias in an ocean–atmosphere CGCM with improved coupling physics. J Clim 18:2344–2360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Luo J-J, Masson S, Behera SK, Shingu S, Yamagata T (2005b) Seasonal climate predictability in a coupled OAGCM using a different approach for ensemble forecasts. J Clim 18:4474–4497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Luo J-J, Masson S, Behera SK, Yamagata T (2008a) Extended ENSO predictions using a fully coupled ocean–atmosphere model. J Clim 21:84–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Luo J-J, Behera SK, Masumoto Y, Sakuma H, Yamagata T (2008b) Successful prediction of the consecutive IOD in 2006 and 2007. Geophys Res Lett 35:L14S02. doi: 10.1029/2007GL032793 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luo J-J, Zhang R, Behera SK, Masumoto Y, Jin FF, Lukas R, Yamagata T (2009) Interaction between El Niño and extreme Indian Ocean dipole. J Clim (in press)Google Scholar
  23. Madec G, Delecluse P, Imbard M, Levy C (1998) OPA version 8.1 ocean general circulation model reference manual. LODYC/IPSL Tech Note 11 pp 91Google Scholar
  24. Masson S et al (2005) Impact of barrier layer on winter-spring variability of the southeastern Arabian Sea. Geophys Res Lett 32:L07703. doi: 10.1029/2004GL021980 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Matsuno T (1966) Quasi-geostrophic motions in the equatorial area. J Meteor Soc Japan 44:25–43Google Scholar
  26. McPhaden MJ (1999) Genesis and evolution of the 1997–98 El Niño. Science 283:950–954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nitta T (1987) Convective activities in the tropical western Pacific and their impact on the Northern Hemisphere summer circulation. J Meteor Soc Japan 65:373–390Google Scholar
  28. Park H-S, Chiang JCH, Lintner BR, Zhang GJ (2009) The delayed effect of major El Niño events on Indian monsoon rainfall. J Clim (in revision)Google Scholar
  29. Reynolds RW, Rayner NA, Smith TM, Stokes DC, Wang W (2002) An improved in situ and satellite SST analysis for climate. J Clim 15:1609–1625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Roeckner E et al (1996) The atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM-4: model description and simulation of present-day climate. Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie Rep 218:90Google Scholar
  31. Schott FA, Xie S-P, McCreary JP (2009) Indian Ocean circulation and climate variability. Rev Geophys 47:RG1002. doi: 10.1029/2007RG000245 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shen X, Kimoto M, Sumi A, Numaguti A, Matsumoto J (2001) Simulation of the 1998 East Asian summer monsoon by the CCSR/NIES AGCM. J Meteor Soc Japan 79:741–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tozuka T, Luo J-J, Masson S, Behera SK, Yamagata T (2005) Annual ENSO simulated in a coupled ocean–atmosphere model. Dyn Atmos Oceans 39:41–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang B, Wu R, Fu X (2000) Pacific-east Asian teleconnection: how does ENSO affect East Asian climate? J Clim 13:1517–1536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wang B, Wu R, Li T (2003) Atmosphere–warm ocean interaction and its impacts on the Asian–Australian monsoon variation. J Clim 16:1195–1211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wang B et al (2008). Advance and prospect of seasonal prediction: assessment of the APCC/CliPAS 14-model ensemble retroperspective seasonal prediction (1980–2004). Clim Dyn. doi: 10.1007/s00382-008-0460-0
  37. Xie P, Arkin PA (1996) Analyses of global monthly precipitation using gauge observations, satellite estimates, and numerical model predictions. J Clim 9:840–858CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Xie S-P, Annamalai H, Schott FA, McCreary JP (2002) Structure and mechanisms of South Indian Ocean climate variability. J Clim 15:864–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Xie S-P, Hu K, Hafner J, Tokinaga H, Du Y, Huang G, Sampe T (2009) Indian Ocean capacitor effect on Indo-Western Pacific climate during the summer following El Niño. J Clim 22:730–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yamagata T, Behera SK, Luo J-J, Masson S, Jury MR, Rao SA (2004) Coupled ocean–atmosphere variability in the tropical Indian Ocean. Earth Climate: The Ocean–Atmosphere Interaction, Geoph Monogr No. 147, Amer Geoph Uni, pp 189–212Google Scholar
  41. Yang J, Liu Q, Xie S-P, Liu Z, Wu L (2007) Impact of the Indian Ocean SST basin mode on the Asian summer monsoon. Geophys Res Lett 34:L02708. doi: 10.1029/2006GL028571 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yulaeva E, Wallace JM (1994) The signature of ENSO in global temperature and precipitation fields derived from the microwave sounding unit. J Clim 7:1719–1736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhang R, Sumi A, Kimoto M (1996) Impacts of El Niño on the East Asian monsoon: a diagnostic study of the ‘86/87 and ‘91/92 events. J Meteor Soc Japan 74:49–62Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasti Sriranga Chowdary
    • 1
  • Shang-Ping Xie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jing-Jia Luo
    • 3
  • Jan Hafner
    • 1
  • Swadhin Behera
    • 3
  • Yukio Masumoto
    • 3
    • 4
  • Toshio Yamagata
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.International Pacific Research Center, SOESTUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Frontier Research Center for Global ChangeJAMSTECYokohamaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations