Advertisement

On the westward shift of tropical Pacific climate variability since 2000

  • Xiaofan Li
  • Zeng-Zhen HuEmail author
  • Emily Becker
Article

Abstract

A profound westward shift in atmosphere–ocean variability in the tropical Pacific is observed when 2000–2017 is compared to 1979–1999. This westward displacement is associated with changes in oceanic Kelvin wave activity along the equator, especially a remarkable reduction in the eastern Pacific (175°–145°W). This coincides with a weakening of low-level westerly winds in this region, and a westward shift of low-level easterly winds in the central and eastern tropical Pacific, as well as decreased variability of vertical entrainment, vertical diffusion in the ocean mixed-layer in the eastern Pacific. The observed enhancement of the zonal contrast of the mean state across the tropical Pacific seems to be associated with the westward shift of climate variability along the equator. This systematically westward shift of the atmosphere–ocean variability in the tropical Pacific alters the impact of the tropical Pacific on extra-tropical climate.

Keywords

Westward shift of tropical Pacific variability Oceanic Kelvin wave activity Zonal gradient of SST 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the constructive comments and insightful suggestions from reviewers. The procedure of the heat budget calculation used in this work was developed by Dr. Boyin Huang and is maintained by Dr. C. Wen. Prof. Li was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41775040 and 41475039) and National Key Basic Research and Development Project of China (2015CB953601). The scientific results and conclusions, as well as any view or opinions expressed herein, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NWS, NOAA, or the Department of Commerce.

References

  1. An S-I, Wang B (2000) Interdecadal change of the structure of the ENSO mode and its impact on the ENSO frequency. J Clim 13:2044–2055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnston AG, Tippett MK, L’Heureux ML, Li S, DeWitt DG (2012) Skill of real—time seasonal ENSO model predictions during 2002–2011—is our capability increasing? Bull Am Meteorol Soc 93(5):631–651CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Behringer DW (2007) The Global Ocean Data Assimilation System (GODAS) at NCEP. In: Preprints, 11th symposium on integrated observing and assimilation systems for atmosphere, oceans, and land surface, San Antonio, TX, Am Meteorol Soc, 3.3. http://ams.confex.com/ams/87ANNUAL/techprogram/paper_119541.htm. Accessed 16 Jan 2007
  4. Bellenger H, Guilyardi E, Leloup J, Lengaigne M, Vialard J (2014) ENSO representation in climate models: From CMIP3 to CMIP5. Clim Dyn 42(7–8):1999–2018.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-1783-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bunge L, Clarke AJ (2014) On the warm water volume and its changing relationship with ENSO. J Phys Oceanogr 44:1372–1385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Capotondi A, Wittenberg AT, Newman M, Di Lorenzo E, Yu J, Braconnot P, Cole J, Dewitte B, Giese B, Guilyardi E, Jin F, Karnauskas K, Kirtman B, Lee T, Schneider N, Xue Y, Yeh S (2015) Understanding ENSO Diversity. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 96:921–938.  https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00117.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen D, Lian T, Fu C, Cane MA, Tang Y, Murtugudde R, Wu Q, Zhou L (2015) A new perspective on ENSO classification and genesis. Nat Geosci 8:339–345.  https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2399 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiang JCH, Vimont DJ (2004) Analogous Pacific and Atlantic meridional modes of tropical atmosphere-ocean variability. J Clim 17:4143–4158.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI4953.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiodi AM, Harrison DE (2015) Global seasonal precipitation anomalies robustly associated with El Niño and La Niña events—an OLR perspective. J Clim 28:6133–6159.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00387.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collins M, An S–I, Cai W, Ganachaud A, Guilyardi E, Jin F–F, Jochum M, Lengaigne M, Power S, Timmermann A, Vecchi G, Wittenberg A (2010) The impact of global warming on the tropical Pacific Ocean and El Niño. Nat Geosci 3:391–397.  https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo868 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Garfinkel CI, Hurwitz MM, Waugh DW, Butler AH (2013) Are the teleconnections of Central Pacific and Eastern Pacific El Niño distinct in boreal wintertime? Clim Dyn 41:1835–1852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guan C, McPhaden MJ (2016) Ocean processes affecting the twenty-first-century shift in ENSO SST variability. J Clim 29:6861–6879.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0870.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harrison DE, Chiodi AM (2009) Pre- and post-1997/98 westerly wind events and equatorial Pacific cold tongue warming. J Clim 22:568–581.  https://doi.org/10.1175/2008JCLI2270.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harrison DE, Chiodi AM (2015) Multi-decadal variability and trends in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and tropical Pacific fisheries implications. Deep-Sea Res II 113:9–21.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.12.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Horii T, Ueki I, Hanawa K (2012) Breakdown of ENSO predictors in the 2000s: decadal changes of recharge/discharge—SST phase relation and atmospheric intraseasonal forcing. Geophys Res Lett 39:L10707.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051740 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hu S, Fedorov AV (2016) Exceptional strong easterly wind burst stalling El Niño of 2014. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113(8):2005–2010.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1514182113 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hu S, Fedorov AV (2018) Cross-equatorial winds control El Niño diversity and change. Nat Clim Change 8:798–802.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0248-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hu Z–Z, Kumar A, Jha B, Wang W, Huang B, Huang B (2012) An analysis of warm pool and cold tongue El Niños: air–sea coupling processes, global influences, and recent trends. Clime Dyn 38(910):2017–2035.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-011-1224-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hu Z-Z, Kumar A, Ren H-L, Wang H, L’Heureux M, Jin F-F (2013) Weakened interannual variability in the tropical Pacific Ocean since 2000. J Clim 26(8):2601–2613.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00265.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hu Z-Z, Kumar A, Huang B (2016) Spatial distribution and the interdecadal change of leading modes of heat budget of the mixed—layer in the tropical Pacific and the association with ENSO. Clim Dyn 46(5–6):1753–1768.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-015-2672-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hu Z-Z, Kumar A, Huang B, Zhu J, Ren H-L (2017a) Interdecadal variations of ENSO around 1999/2000. J Meteorol Res 31 (1), 73–81.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13351-017-6074-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hu Z-Z, Kumar A, Zhu J, Huang B, Tseng Y, Wang X (2017b) On the shortening of the lead time of ocean warm water volume to ENSO SST since 2000. Sci Rep 7:4294.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-04566-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hu Z-Z, Huang B, Zhu J, Kumar A, McPhaden MJ (2019) On the variety of coastal El Niño events. Clim Dyn.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-018-4290-4 (published online)Google Scholar
  24. Huang, B., Y. Xue, D. Zhang, A. Kumar, and M. J. McPhaden, 2010: The NCEP GODAS ocean analysis of the tropical Pacific mixed layer heat budget on seasonal to interannual time scales. J Clim 23(18):4901–4925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huang B, Thorne PW, Banzon VF, Boyer T, Chepurin G, Lawrimore JH, Menne MJ, Smith TM, Vose RS, Zhang H-M (2017) Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 5 (ERSSTv5), Upgrades, validations, and intercomparisons. J Clim 30(20):8179–8205.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0836.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jin F-F, Hoskins BJ (1995) The direct response to tropical heating in a baroclinic atmosphere. J Atmos Sci 52:307–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kanamitsu M, Ebisuzaki W, Woollen J, Yang S-K, Hnilo JJ, Fiorino M, Potter GL (2002) NCEP–DOEAIP—II reanalysis (R–2). Bull Am Meteorol 83:1631–1643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kessler WS, McPhaden MJ, Weickmann KM (1995) Forcing of intraseasonal Kelvin waves in the equatorial Pacific. J Geophys Res 100(C6):10613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kumar A, Hu Z-Z (2014) Interannual and interdecadal variability of ocean temperature along the equatorial Pacific in conjunction with ENSO. Clim Dyn 42(5–6):1243–1258.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-1721-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. L’Heureux M, Collins D, Hu Z–Z (2013) Linear trends in sea surface temperature of the tropical Pacific Ocean and implications for the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Clim Dyn 40(5–6):1223–1236.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1331-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Li X, Hu Z-Z, Huang B (2019) Contributions of atmosphere-ocean interaction and low-frequency variation to intensity of strong El Niño events since 1979. J Clim.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0209.1 (published online)Google Scholar
  32. Liebmann B, Smith CA (1996) Description of a complete (interpolated) outgoing long wave radiation dataset. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:1275–1277Google Scholar
  33. Lloyd J, Guilyardi E, Weller H, Slingo J (2009) The role of atmosphere feedbacks during ENSO in the CMIP3 models. Atmos Sci Lett 10:170–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lübbecke JF, McPhaden MJ (2014) Assessing the 21st century shift in ENSO variability in terms of the Bjerknes stability index. J Clim 27:2577–2587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McPhaden MJ (2012) A 21st century shift in the relationship between ENSO SST and warm water volume anomalies. Geophys Res Lett 39:L09706.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2012GL051826 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. National Research Council (2010) Assessment of intraseasonal to interannual climate prediction and predictability. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, p 192Google Scholar
  37. Peng P, Kumar A, Hu Z-Z (2018) What drove Pacific and North America climate anomalies in winter 2014/15? Clim Dyn 51 (78):2667–2679.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-017-4035-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ray S, Giese BS (2012) Historical changes in El Niño and La Niña characteristics in an ocean reanalysis. J Geophys Res 117:C11007.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2012JC008031 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ren H-L, Jin F-F (2011) Niño indices for two types of ENSO. Geophys Res Lett 38:L04704.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2010GL046031 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seo K-H, Xue Y (2005) MJO-related oceanic Kelvin waves and the ENSO cycle: a study with the NCEP global ocean data assimilation system. Geophys Res Lett 32:L07712.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GL022511 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ting, M. and P.D. Sardeshmukh, 1993: Factors determining the extratropical response to equatorial diabatic heating anomalies. J Atmos Sci 50, 907–918. https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1993)050<0907:FDTERT>2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang W, Chen M, Kumar A (2010) An assessment of the CFS real-time seasonal forecasts. Wea Forecast 25:950–969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wang C, Deser C, Yu J-Y, DiNezio P, Clement A (2016) El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO): a review. In: Glymn P, Manzello D, Enochs I, (eds) Coral reefs of the Eastern Pacific. Springer Science Publisher, New York, pp 85–106Google Scholar
  44. Wen C, Kumar A, Xue Y, McPhaden MJ (2014) Changes in tropical Pacific thermocline depth and their relationship to ENSO after 1999. J Clim 27:7230–7249.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00518.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wittenberg AT (2009) Are historical records sufficient to constrain ENSO simulations? Geophys Res Lett 36:L12702.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL038710 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Xiang B, Wang B, Li T (2013) A new paradigm for the predominance of standing Central Pacific warming after the late 1990s. Clim Dyn 41(2):327–340.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-012-1427-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Xie S-P, Philander SGH (1994) A coupled ocean–atmosphere model of relevance to the ITCZ in the eastern Pacific. Tellus 46A:340–350.  https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0870.1994.t01-1-00001.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yang J, Peltier WR, Hu Y (2016) Monotonic decrease of the zonal SST gradient of the equatorial Pacific as a function of CO2 concentration in CCSM3 and CCSM4. J Geophys Res-Atmos 121:10,637–610,653.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016JD025231 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yeh S, Kug J, Dewitte B, Kwon M, Kirtman BP, Jin F-F (2009) El Niño in a changing climate. Nature 461(7263):511–514.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08316 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Yu J-Y, Kao H-Y, Lee T, Kim ST (2011) Subsurface ocean temperature indices for central-Pacific and eastern-Pacific types of El Niño and La Niña events. Theor Appl Clim 103(3–4):337–344.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-010-0307-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yu J-Y, Kao PK, Paek H, Hsu HH, Hung CW, Lu MM, An S-I (2015) Linking emergence of the central Pacific El Niño to the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. J Clim 28(2):651–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Climate Prediction CenterNCEP/NWS, NOAA 5830 University Research CourtCollege ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations