Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 132, Issue 1–2, pp 465–478 | Cite as

Diversity in the representation of large-scale circulation associated with ENSO-Indian summer monsoon teleconnections in CMIP5 models

  • Dandi A. Ramu
  • Jasti S. Chowdary
  • S. S. V. S. Ramakrishna
  • O. S. R. U. B. Kumar
Original Paper


Realistic simulation of large-scale circulation patterns associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is vital in coupled models in order to represent teleconnections to different regions of globe. The diversity in representing large-scale circulation patterns associated with ENSO-Indian summer monsoon (ISM) teleconnections in 23 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models is examined. CMIP5 models have been classified into three groups based on the correlation between Niño3.4 sea surface temperature (SST) index and ISM rainfall anomalies, models in group 1 (G1) overestimated El Niño-ISM teleconections and group 3 (G3) models underestimated it, whereas these teleconnections are better represented in group 2 (G2) models. Results show that in G1 models, El Niño-induced Tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) SST anomalies are not well represented. Anomalous low-level anticyclonic circulation anomalies over the southeastern TIO and western subtropical northwest Pacific (WSNP) cyclonic circulation are shifted too far west to 60° E and 120° E, respectively. This bias in circulation patterns implies dry wind advection from extratropics/midlatitudes to Indian subcontinent. In addition to this, large-scale upper level convergence together with lower level divergence over ISM region corresponding to El Niño are stronger in G1 models than in observations. Thus, unrealistic shift in low-level circulation centers corroborated by upper level circulation changes are responsible for overestimation of ENSO-ISM teleconnections in G1 models. Warm Pacific SST anomalies associated with El Niño are shifted too far west in many G3 models unlike in the observations. Further large-scale circulation anomalies over the Pacific and ISM region are misrepresented during El Niño years in G3 models. Too strong upper-level convergence away from Indian subcontinent and too weak WSNP cyclonic circulation are prominent in most of G3 models in which ENSO-ISM teleconnections are underestimated. On the other hand, many G2 models are able to represent most of large-scale circulation over Indo-Pacific region associated with El Niño and hence provide more realistic ENSO-ISM teleconnections. Therefore, this study advocates the importance of representation/simulation of large-scale circulation patterns during El Niño years in coupled models in order to capture El Niño-monsoon teleconnections well.



We are grateful to the Director of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) for support. The authors also thank India Meteorological Department ( We thank the anonymous reviewers for the comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript. We are very thankful to Dr. Terry Pascal for language correction and suggestions. We acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modeling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modeling groups for producing and making available their model outputs. For CMIP, the US Department of Energy’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provides coordinating support and led the development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals. We thank the NCAR for making available the NCAR Command Language (NCL). All data sources are duly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dandi A. Ramu
    • 1
  • Jasti S. Chowdary
    • 1
  • S. S. V. S. Ramakrishna
    • 2
  • O. S. R. U. B. Kumar
    • 2
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  2. 2.Departmet of Meteorology and OceanographyAndhra UniversityVisakhapatnamIndia

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