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Two Independent Triggers for the Indian Ocean Dipole/Zonal Mode in a Coupled GCM

Fischer, A. S., Terray, P., Guilyardi, E., Gualdi, S. and Delecluse, P. (2005) Two Independent Triggers for the Indian Ocean Dipole/Zonal Mode in a Coupled GCM. Journal Of Climate, 18 (17). pp. 3428-3449. ISSN 1520-0442

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3478.1


The question of whether and how tropical Indian Ocean dipole or zonal mode (IOZM) interannual variability is independent of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability in the Pacific is addressed in a comparison of twin 200-yr runs of a coupled climate model. The first is a reference simulation, and the second has ENSO-scale variability suppressed with a constraint on the tropical Pacific wind stress. The IOZM can exist in the model without ENSO, and the composite evolution of the main anomalies in the Indian Ocean in the two simulations is virtually identical. Its growth depends on a positive feedback between anomalous equatorial easterly winds, upwelling equatorial and coastal Kelvin waves reducing the thermocline depth and sea surface temperature off the coast of Sumatra, and the atmospheric dynamical response to the subsequently reduced convection. Two IOZM triggers in the boreal spring are found. The first is an anomalous Hadley circulation over the eastern tropical Indian Ocean and Maritime Continent, with an early northward penetration of the Southern Hemisphere southeasterly trades. This situation grows out of cooler sea surface temperatures in the southeastern tropical Indian Ocean left behind by a reinforcement of the late austral summer winds. The second trigger is a consequence of a zonal shift in the center of convection associated with a developing El Nino, a Walker cell anomaly. The first trigger is the only one present in the constrained simulation and is similar to the evolution of anomalies in 1994, when the IOZM occurred in the absence of a Pacific El Nino state. The presence of these two triggers-the first independent of ENSO and the second phase locking the IOZM to El Nino-allows an understanding of both the existence of IOZM events when Pacific conditions are neutral and the significant correlation between the IOZM and El Nino.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:5147
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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