Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 7–8, pp 2753–2765 | Cite as

A new index for identifying different types of El Niño Modoki events

  • Xin Wang
  • Wei Tan
  • Chunzai Wang


El Niño Modoki events can be further classified into El Niño Modoki I and II in terms of their opposite impacts on southern China rainfall (Wang and Wang, J Clim 26:1322–1338, 2013) and the Indian Ocean dipole mode (Wang and Wang, Clim Dyn 42:991–1005, 2014). The present paper develops an index to identify the types of El Niño events. The El Niño Modoki II (MII) index is defined as the leading principle component of multivariate empirical orthogonal function analysis of the normalized El Niño Modoki index, Niño4 index and 850 hPa relative vorticity anomalies averaged near the Philippine Sea during autumn. The MII index exhibits dominant variations on interannual (2–3 and 4–5 years) and decadal (10–20 years) timescales. El Niño Modoki II events can be well identified by using the MII index value being larger than 1 standard deviation. Further analyses and numerical model experiments confirm that the MII index can portray the major oceanic and atmospheric features of El Niño Modoki II events. The constructed MII index along with previous ENSO indices can be used for classifying and identifying all types of El Niño events. Because of distinct impacts induced by different types of El Niño events, the implication of the present study is that climate prediction and future climate projection under global warming can be improved by using the MII index and other indices to identify the types of El Niño events.


ENSO El Niño Modoki Climate impacts 



This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA11010403), the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41422601, 41376025 and 41521005), the Pioneer Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB430301), the National Program on Global Change and Air–Sea Interaction (GASIIPOVAI-04).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical ModelingQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.First Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoChina

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