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Dominant patterns of boreal summer interactions between tropics and mid-latitude: causal relationships and the role of timescales

Di Capua, G., Runge, J., Donner, R. V., van den Hurk, B., Turner, A. G. ORCID:, Vellore, R., Krishnan, R. and Coumou, D. (2020) Dominant patterns of boreal summer interactions between tropics and mid-latitude: causal relationships and the role of timescales. Weather and Climate Dynamics, 1 (2). pp. 519-539. ISSN 2698-4024

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5194/wcd-1-519-2020


Tropical convective activity represents a source of predictability for mid-latitude weather in the Northern Hemisphere. In winter, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant source of predictability in the tropics and extra-tropics, but its role in summer is much less pronounced and the exact teleconnection pathways are not well understood. Here, we assess how tropical convection interacts with mid-latitude summer circulation at different intraseasonal time-scales and how ENSO affects these interactions. First, we apply maximum covariance analysis (MCA) between tropical convective activity and mid-latitude geopotential height fields to identify the dominant modes of interaction. The first MCA mode connects the South Asian monsoon with the mid-latitude circumglobal teleconnection pattern. The second MCA mode connects the western North Pacific summer monsoon in the tropics with a wave-5 pattern centred over the North Pacific High in the mid-latitudes. We show that the MCA patterns are fairly insensitive to the selected intraseasonal time-scale from weekly to 4-weekly data. To study the potential causal interdependencies between these modes and with other atmospheric fields, we apply causal effect networks (CEN) at different time-scales. CENs extend standard correlation analysis by removing the confounding effects of autocorrelation, indirect links and common drivers. In general, there is a two-way causal interaction between the tropics and mid-latitudes but the strength and sometimes sign of the causal link are time-scale dependent. We introduce causal maps that plot the regionally specific causal effect from each MCA mode. Those maps confirm the dominant patterns of interaction and in addition, highlight specific mid-latitude regions that are most strongly connected to tropical convection. In general, the identified causal teleconnection patterns are only mildly affected by ENSO and the tropical-mid-latitude linkages remain similar. Still, La Niña strengthens the South Asian monsoon generating a stronger response in the mid-latitudes, while during El Niño years, the Pacific pattern is reinforced. This study paves the way for process-based validation of boreal summer teleconnections in (sub)seasonal forecast models and climate models and therefore helps to improve sub-seasonal and climate projections.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:89950


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