Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 3–4, pp 729–754 | Cite as

The role of the intra-daily SST variability in the Indian monsoon variability and monsoon-ENSO–IOD relationships in a global coupled model

  • Pascal TerrayEmail author
  • Kakitha Kamala
  • Sébastien Masson
  • Gurvan Madec
  • A. K. Sahai
  • Jing-Jia Luo
  • Toshio Yamagata


The impact of diurnal SST coupling and vertical oceanic resolution on the simulation of the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM) and its relationships with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events are studied through the analysis of four integrations of a high resolution Coupled General Circulation Model (CGCM), but with different configurations. The only differences between the four integrations are the frequency of coupling between the ocean and atmosphere for the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) parameter (2 vs. 24 h coupling) and/or the vertical oceanic resolution (31 vs. 301 levels) in the CGCM. Although the summer mean tropical climate is reasonably well captured with all the configurations of the CGCM and is not significantly modified by changing the frequency of SST coupling from once to twelve per day, the ISM–ENSO teleconnections are rather poorly simulated in the two simulations in which SST is exchanged only once per day, independently of the vertical oceanic resolution used in the CGCM. Surprisingly, when 2 h SST coupling is implemented in the CGCM, the ISM–ENSO teleconnection is better simulated, particularly, the complex lead-lag relationships between the two phenomena, in which a weak ISM occurs during the developing phase of an El Niño event in the Pacific, are closely resembling the observed ones. Evidence is presented to show that these improvements are related to changes in the characteristics of the model’s El Niño which has a more realistic evolution in its developing and decaying phases, a stronger amplitude and a shift to lower frequencies when a 2-hourly SST coupling strategy is implemented without any significant changes in the basic state of the CGCM. As a consequence of these improvements in ENSO variability, the lead relationships between Indo-Pacific SSTs and ISM rainfall resemble the observed patterns more closely, the ISM–ENSO teleconnection is strengthened during boreal summer and ISM rainfall power spectrum is in better agreement with observations. On the other hand, the ISM–IOD teleconnection is sensitive to both SST coupling frequency and the vertical oceanic resolution, but increasing the vertical oceanic resolution is degrading the ISM–IOD teleconnection in the CGCM. These results highlight the need of a proper assessment of both temporal scale interactions and coupling strategies in order to improve current CGCMs. These results, which must be confirmed with other CGCMs, have also important implications for dynamical seasonal prediction systems or climate change projections of the monsoon.


Indian summer monsoon El Niño-Southern Oscillation Intra-daily SST variability Ocean–atmosphere interactions Coupled climate model 



Financial support from the Indo-French CEFIPRA project (No. 3907/1) and the European Community project ENSEMBLES (Project no. GOCE-CT-2003-505539) is acknowledged. All the SINTEX-F2 experiments were carried out on the Earth Simulator (JAMSTEC) in the frame of the France-Japan collaboration. Our sensibility experiments with 301 levels in the ocean have to be double thanks to the outstanding computational performances offered by this unique supercomputer. S. Masson and G. Madec were supported by ANR (INLOES project). Many thanks to R. Benshila, C. Talandier, A. Caubel, E. Maisonnave, M.A. Foujols, C. Levy, Y.Meursedoif, F. Pinsard, C. Deltel, S. Denvil and P. Brochard who have come to the ESC to implement, optimize and run the simulations. Their visit at the ESC was greatly facilitated by the kind help of K. Takahashi, A. Kurita, R. Itakura, A. Toya and M.-E. Demory. The NCEP–NCAR reanalysis, CMAP and HadISST1.1 data were provided by the NOAA–CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center from the Web site ( Finally, we acknowledge the outstanding work undertaken by the many international modeling groups who provided their numerous model experiments for the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI). For more details on model data or documentation, readers are referred to the PCMDI Web site (


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© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pascal Terray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kakitha Kamala
    • 1
  • Sébastien Masson
    • 1
  • Gurvan Madec
    • 1
  • A. K. Sahai
    • 2
  • Jing-Jia Luo
    • 3
  • Toshio Yamagata
    • 3
  1. 1.LOCEAN/IPSL, CNRS/IRD/UPMC/MNHNUniversité Pierre et Marie CurieParis Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  3. 3.RIGCYokohamaJapan

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