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  1. Fast and Slow Components of the Extratropical Atmospheric Circulation Response to CO2 Forcing Authors: Paulo Ceppi, Giuseppe Zappa, Theodore G. Shepherd and Jonathan M. Gregory First Published: September 15th, 2017 Published on line: January 19th, 2018 Abstract: Poleward shifts of the extratropical atmospheric circulation are a common response to CO2 forcing in global climate models (GCMs), but little is known about the time dependence of this response. Here it is shown that in coupled climate models, the long-term evolution of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) induces two distinct time scales of circulation response to steplike CO2 forcing. In most GCMs from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project as well as in the multimodel mean, all of the poleward shift of the midlatitude jets and Hadley cell edge occurs in a fast response within 5–10 years of the forcing, during which less than half of the expected equilibrium warming is realized. Compared with this fast response, the slow response over subsequent decades to centuries features stronger polar amplification (especially in the Antarctic), enhanced warming in the Southern Ocean, an El Niño–like pattern of tropical Pacific warming, and weaker land–sea contrast. Atmosphere-only GCM experiments demonstrate that the SST evolution drives the difference between the fast and slow circulation responses, although the direct radiative effect of CO2 also contributes to the fast response. It is further shown that the fast and slow responses determine the long-term evolution of the circulation response to warming in the representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) scenario. The results imply that shifts in midlatitude circulation generally scale with the radiative forcing, rather than with global-mean temperature change. A corollary is that time slices taken from a transient simulation at a given level of warming will considerably overestimate the extratropical circulation response in a stabilized climate. Link to Paper:
  2. Response of the Zonal Mean Atmospheric Circulation to El Niño versus Global Warming Authors: Jian Lu, Gang Chen and Dargan M. W. Frierson First Published: March 11th, 2008 Published on line: November 15th, 2008 Abstract: The change in the zonal mean atmospheric circulation under global warming is studied in comparison with the response to El Niño forcing, by examining the model simulations conducted for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In contrast to the strengthening and contraction of the Hadley cell and the equatorward shift of the tropospheric zonal jets in response to El Niño, the Hadley cell weakens and expands poleward, and the jets move poleward in a warmed climate, despite the projected “El Niño–like” enhanced warming over the equatorial central and eastern Pacific. The hydrological impacts of global warming also exhibit distinct patterns over the subtropics and midlatitudes in comparison to the El Niño. Two feasible mechanisms are proposed for the zonal mean circulation response to global warming: 1) The increase in static stability of the subtropical and midlatitude troposphere, a robust result of the quasi-moist adiabatic adjustment to the surface warming, may stabilize the baroclinic eddy growth on the equatorward side of the storm tracks and push the eddy activity and the associated eddy-driven wind and subsidence poleward, leading to the poleward expansion of the Hadley cell and the shift of midlatitude jets; 2) the strengthening of the midlatitude wind at the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, arguably a consequence of increases in the meridional temperature gradient near the tropopause level due to the tropospheric warming and tropopause slope, may increase the eastward propagation of the eddies emanating from the midlatitudes, and thus the subtropical region of wave breaking displaces poleward together with the eddy-driven circulation. Both mechanisms are somewhat, if not completely, distinct from those in response to the El Niño condition. Link to full paper: Credit goes to Eric @Webberweather for finding this presentation - thank you.
  3. Relationship between Tropical Pacific SST and global atmospheric angular momentum in coupled models Authors: Huei−Ping Huang, Matthew Newman, Richard Seager, Yochanan Kushnir and Participating CMIP2+ Modeling Groups First Published: January 2004 Abstract: The sensitivity parameter S1 = ∆AAM/∆SST, where ∆AAM and ∆SST represent the anomalies of global atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) and tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) in the NINO3.4 region, is compared for the CMIP2+ coupled models. The parameter quantifies the strength of atmospheric zonal mean zonal wind response to SST anomaly in the equatorial Pacific, an important process for the climate system. Although the simulated ∆AAM and ∆SST are found to exhibit great disparity, their ratios agree better among the coupled models (and with observation) with no significant outliers. This indicates that the processes that connect the AAM anomaly to tropical SST anomaly are not sensitive to the base SST and the detail of convective heating and are relatively easy to reproduce by the coupled models. Through this robust ∆SST−∆AAM relationship, the model bias in tropical Pacific SST manifests itself in the bias in atmospheric angular momentum. The value of S1 for an atmospheric model forced by observed SST is close to that for a coupled model with a similar atmospheric component, suggesting that the ∆SST− ∆AAM relationship is dominated by a one−way influence of the former forcing the latter. The physical basis for the ∆SST−∆AAM relationship is explored using a statistical equilibrium argument that links ∆SST to the anomaly of tropical tropospheric temperature. The resulting meridional gradient of tropospheric temperature is then linked to the change in zonal wind in the subtropical jets, the main contributor to ∆AAM, by thermal wind balance. Link to Paper: Credit goes to Tom @Isotherm for finding this paper - thank you.
  4. Unusual Behavior in Atmospheric Angular Momentum during the 1965 and 1972 El Niños Authors: Huei-Ping Huang, Klaus M. Weickmann and Richard D. Rosen First Published: 24th February, 2003 Published on line: 1st August, 2003 Abstract: The global atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) is known to increase with tropical eastern Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies during El Niño events. Using a reanalysis dataset, the ratio of the monthly AAM anomaly to El Niño SST anomaly (based on the Niño-3.4 index) is found to be approximately 1 angular momentum unit (=1025 kg m2 s−1) per degree Celsius for most post-1975 El Niños. This ratio is much smaller, however, during the 1965/66 and 1972/73 El Niños, raising the possibilities that either the early reanalysis data are in error due to sparse observations, or the atmospheric response to the two early El Niños was unusual. The possibility of a severe data problem in the reanalysis is ruled out by cross-validating the AAM time series with independent measurements of length of day. The latitudinal structures of the zonal wind anomalies in 1965/66 and 1972/73 are examined for both the reanalysis and a set of general circulation model (GCM) simulations. Multiple GCM runs with specified SST produce a more positive ensemble-mean AAM anomaly in 1965 than its counterpart in the reanalysis. The GCM-simulated ensemble-mean zonal wind anomaly resembles the canonical El Niño response with accelerations of subtropical zonal jets in both hemispheres, a pattern that is almost absent in the reanalysis. On the other hand, a large spread exists among the individual ensemble members in the 1965/66 GCM simulations. Although the majority of the individual ensemble members shows the canonical El Niño response, two outliers (out of 12 runs) exhibit very small zonal wind responses in the Northern Hemisphere similar to the reanalysis. Thus, the observed AAM anomaly during 1965/66 is interpreted as an outlier with atmospheric noise being strong enough to overwhelm the canonical El Niño response. The low AAM in the 1972/73 event is related in the reanalysis to a significantly negative zonal wind response on the equator. This signal is robustly reproduced, although with a slightly smaller amplitude, in the ensemble mean and all individual ensemble members in the GCM simulations. The small ensemble standard deviation and large ensemble-mean response on the equator indicate that the negative response is due to the lower-boundary forcing related to the SST anomaly. The fact that the AAM anomaly in 1972/73 is not well correlated with the Niño-3.4 index, then, indicates that SST anomalies outside the conventional El Niño region may be responsible for the low AAM. The uncharacteristically low values of global AAM in 1965/66 and 1972/73 contribute to a low mean for the decade before 1975, which, combined with high AAM in the post-1980 era, produces a significant upward trend in AAM in the second half of the twentieth century. If the weak AAM anomalies during the two pre-1975 El Niños are due to random noise or incidental non-El Niño influences, taking them at face value would result in an overestimate of about 15%–20% in the multidecadal trend of AAM due to boundary forcing alone. Notably, a multidecadal trend in AAM is also simulated in the ensemble mean of the multiple GCM runs, but its magnitude is smaller than the observed counterpart and more consistent with the multidecadal trend of the Niño-3.4 index. The implications of these findings for climate change detection are discussed. Link to Paper:<2526%3AUBIAAM>2.0.CO%3B2 Credit goes to Tom @Isotherm for finding this paper - thank you.
  5. Global Warming and ENSO – A “Helter-Skelter” Atmosphere Authors: Daphne Thompson (for WDT) Published: 11th December, 2017 Abstract: (None but I extracted this from the text): The purpose of this article is to make an effort to illustrate circulation impacts due to climate change, and give some high-level observational evidence of a La Niña-like response due to global warming, including at present. From another perspective, the ongoing El Niño could be contributing to La Niña aspects of the current atmospheric circulation given that it may be amplifying the present increase in the global mean temperature. Emphasis is then placed on the relevancy of climate change to subseasonal forecasting, including the present 16-30 day outlooks issued by WDT. The “global warming-La Niña” connection has been gaining some recognition in a few very recent publications in the refereed literature, as well as in on-line blogs written by well-respected scientists. The reader is encouraged to do a search. No attempt will be made to get into the complicated issues of the causes of climate change (including global warming) other than described above Link to full paper: Credit goes to Tams @Tamara for finding this paper - thank you.
  6. Where is ENSO stress balanced? Authors: Matthias Münnich and David Neelin First Published: 20th November, 2003 Published online: 14th April, 2004 Abstract: The zonal surface torque budget associated with the tropical wind stress anomalies during El Niño/Southern Oscillation is analyzed. Mountain and surface stress torques over South America are found to play a prominent role. Local momentum change is negligible for 6 month averages allowing the balance among regional contributions to the torque anomalies to be compared. During El Niño, eastward torque anomalies over the central equatorial Pacific are largely compensated by westward anomalies elsewhere in the equatorial band, notably over South America. Torque anomalies over South America and the Pacific in latitude bands north and south of the equator are both westward and are not compensated within the band, implying an export of eastward momentum to higher latitudes. Copyright © 2003 Royal Meteorological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Link to full paper:
  7. The changing impact of El Niño on US winter temperatures Authors: Jin‐Yi Yu, Yuhao Zou, Seon Tae Kim, Tong Lee Published: Aug 2012 Abstract: In this study, evidence is presented from statistical analyses, numerical model experiments, and case studies to show that the impact on US winter temperatures is different for the different types of El Niño. While the conventional Eastern‐Pacific El Niño affects winter temperatures primarily over the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Southwest US, the largest impact from Central‐Pacific El Niño is on temperatures in the northwestern and southeastern US. The recent shift to a greater frequency of occurrence of the Central‐Pacific type has made the Northwest and Southeast regions of the US most influenced by El Niño. It is shown that the different impacts result from differing wave train responses in the atmosphere to the sea surface temperature anomalies associated with the two types of El Niño. Link to full paper:
  8. Observed Changes in the Lifetime and Amplitude of the MJO Associated with Interannual ENSO Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Authors: Benjamin Pohl and Adrian J. Matthews Published: 1st June, 2007 Abstract: The Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) is analyzed using the reanalysis zonal wind– and satellite outgoing longwave radiation–based indices of Wheeler and Hendon for the 1974–2005 period. The average lifetime of the MJO events varies with season (36 days for events whose central date occurs in December, and 48 days for events in September). The lifetime of the MJO in the equinoctial seasons (March–May and October–December) is also dependent on the state of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During October–December it is only 32 days under El Niño conditions, increasing to 48 days under La Niña conditions, with similar values in northern spring. This difference is due to faster eastward propagation of the MJO convective anomalies through the Maritime Continent and western Pacific during El Niño, consistent with theoretical arguments concerning equatorial wave speeds. The analysis is extended back to 1950 by using an alternative definition of the MJO based on just the zonal wind component of the Wheeler and Hendon indices. A rupture in the amplitude of the MJO is found in 1975, which is at the same time as the well-known rupture in the ENSO time series that has been associated with the Pacific decadal oscillation. The mean amplitude of the MJO is 16% larger in the postrupture (1976–2005) compared to the prerupture (1950–75) period. Before the 1975 rupture, the amplitude of the MJO is maximum (minimum) under El Niño (La Niña) conditions during northern winter, and minimum (maximum) under El Niño (La Niña) conditions during northern summer. After the rupture, this relationship disappears. When the MJO–ENSO relationship is analyzed using all-year-round data, or a shorter dataset (as in some previous studies), no relationship is found. Link to full paper: Credit goes to Eric @Webberweather for finding this paper - thank you.
  9. Impact of interactive westerly wind bursts on CCSM3 Authors: Hosmay Lopez, Ben P. Kirtmana, Eli Tzipermanb and Geoffrey Gebbie Publication: "Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans" no. 59 (2013) pages 24–51 (SciVerse ScienceDirect) Journal Home Page: Published: 7th December, 2012 Abstract: Westerly wind bursts or events (WWBs or WWEs) are commonly viewed as stochastic processes, independent of any oceanic forcing. Some recent work and observations have suggested that these events can be viewed as state-dependent noise in that they are modulated by the SST variability. This potentially affects the predictability of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In this study, we examine the impact of parameterized WWBs on ENSO variability in the Community Climate System Model version 3.0 and 4.0 (CCSM3 and CCSM4). The WWBs parameterization is derived based on 50 years of atmospheric reanalysis data and observed estimates of tropical Pacific SST. To study the impact of WWBs three experiments are performed. In the first experiment, the model is integrated for several hundred years with no prescribed WWBs events (i.e. the control). In the second case, state-independent WWBs events are introduced. In other words, the occurrence, location, duration, and scale of the WWBs are determined (within bounds) randomly. These wind events are always positive (eastward) without a westward counterpart and are totally independent of the anomalies in the state variables, and can be thought of as additive noise. For the third case, the WWBs are introduced but as multiplicative noise or state-dependent forcing, modulated by SST anomalies. The statistical moments for the Niño 3.4 index shows that the state-dependent case produced larger El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and the bias toward stronger cold events is reduced as compared to the control and the state-independent runs. There is very little difference between the control and the state-independent WWB simulations suggesting that the deterministic component of the burst is responsible for reshaping the ENSO events. Lag-lead correlation of ocean variables with Niño 3.4 index suggests larger temporal coherence of the ENSO events. This, along with SSTA composites, also suggest a shift toward a more self sustained mechanism as the experiments progress from the control to the state dependent WWBs. Overall, the parameterized WWBs have the capability to modify the ENSO regime in the CGCM, demonstrating the importance of sub-seasonal variability on interannual time scales. The fast varying (stochastic) component of WWB is of little importance, whereas the slow (SST dependent) component has a significant impact overall. The results are consistent between CCSM3 and CCSM4. Highlights: State dependent and state independent WWB parameterizations are incorporated into coupled general circulation models, CCSM3 and CCSM4. ► CCSM4 is more sensitive to state independent forcing than CCSM3. ► State dependent forcing produces more ENSO events in both extremes, and the model cold phase bias is reduced. ► Lag coherence is degraded (enhanced) in the state-independent (state-dependent) case. ► ENSO characteristics shifted from an event type to an oscillator type as the experiment progress from the state-independent to the state-dependent case. Link to full paper: The full journal is still behind a paywall but the authors have made their personal copy of this part available in pdf format:
  10. Modulation of equatorial Pacific westerly/easterly wind events by the MJO and convectively‑coupled Rossby waves Authors: Martin Puy, J. Vialard, M. Lengaigne and E. Guilyardi Published: 16th June, 2015 Abstract: Synoptic wind events in the equatorial Pacific strongly influence the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) evolution. This paper characterizes the spatio-temporal distribution of Easterly (EWEs) and Westerly Wind Events (WWEs) and quantifies their relationship with intraseasonal and interannual large-scale climate variability. We unambiguously demonstrate that the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) and Convectively-coupled Rossby Waves (CRW) modulate both WWEs and EWEs occurrence probability. 86 % of WWEs occur within convective MJO and/or CRW phases and 83 % of EWEs occur within the suppressed phase of MJO and/or CRW. 41 % of WWEs and 26 % of EWEs are in particular associated with the combined occurrence of a CRW/MJO, far more than what would be expected from a random distribution (3 %). Wind events embedded within MJO phases also have a stronger impact on the ocean, due to a tendency to have a larger amplitude, zonal extent and longer duration. These findings are robust irrespective of the wind events and MJO/CRW detection methods. While WWEs and EWEs behave rather symmetrically with respect to MJO/CRW activity, the impact of ENSO on wind events is asymmetrical. The WWEs occurrence probability indeed increases when the warm pool is displaced eastward during El Niño events, an increase that can partly be related to interannual modulation of the MJO/CRW activity in the western Pacific. On the other hand, the EWEs modulation by ENSO is less robust, and strongly depends on the wind event detection method. The consequences of these results for ENSO predictability are discussed. Link to full guide:
  11. Predictability of SST-Modulated Westerly Wind Bursts Authors: Geoffrey Gebbie and Eli Tziperman Published: 15th July, 2009 Abstract: Westerly wind bursts (WWBs), a significant player in ENSO dynamics, are modeled using an observationally motivated statistical approach that relates the characteristics of WWBs to the large-scale sea surface temperature. Although the WWB wind stress at a given location may be a nonlinear function of SST, the characteristics of WWBs are well described as a linear function of SST. Over 50% of the interannual variance in the WWB likelihood, zonal location, duration, and fetch is explained by changes in SST. The model captures what is seen in a 17-yr record of satellite-derived winds: the eastward migration and increased occurrence of wind bursts as the western Pacific warm pool extends. The WWB model shows significant skill in predicting the interannual variability of the characteristics of WWBs, while the prediction skill of the WWB seasonal cycle is limited by the record length of available data. The novel formulation of the WWB model can be implemented in a stochastic or deterministic mode, where the deterministic mode predicts the ensemble-mean WWB characteristics. Therefore, the WWB model is especially appropriate for ensemble prediction experiments with existing ENSO models that are not capable of simulating realistic WWBs on their own. Should only the slowly varying component of WWBs be important for ENSO prediction, this WWB model allows a shortcut to directly compute the slowly varying ensemble-mean wind field without performing many realizations. Link to full paper:
  12. Quantifying the Dependence of Westerly Wind Bursts on the Large-Scale Tropical Pacific SST Authors: Eli Tziperman and Lisan Yu Published: 15th June, 2007 Abstract: The correlation between parameters characterizing observed westerly wind bursts (WWBs) in the equatorial Pacific and the large-scale SST is analyzed using singular value decomposition. The WWB parameters include the amplitude, location, scale, and probability of occurrence for a given SST distribution rather than the wind stress itself. This approach therefore allows for a nonlinear relationship between the SST and the wind signal of the WWBs. It is found that about half of the variance of the WWB parameters is explained by only two large-scale SST modes. The first mode represents a developed El Niño event, while the second mode represents the seasonal cycle. More specifically, the central longitude of WWBs, their longitudinal extent, and their probability seem to be determined to a significant degree by the ENSO-driven signal. The amplitude of the WWBs is found to be strongly influenced by the phase of the seasonal cycle. It is concluded that the WWBs, while partially stochastic, seem an inherent part of the large-scale deterministic ENSO dynamics. Implications for ENSO predictability and prediction are discussed. Link to full paper:
  13. The Recent Westerly Wind Burst in the Western Equatorial Pacific Could Help to Strengthen the 2015/16 El Niño Authors: Bob Tisdale Published: 19th May, 2015 Abstract: None. This was a guest post on the "Watts Up With That" website by Bob Tidsdale who is an independent scientist, researcher and climatologist. Despite some false comments that Bob Tisdale is a climate change denier, he does take a balanced approach (as I will always do) and is sceptical of hyped arguments at both ends of the global warming debate. I will be adding several of his free e-books to this portal in due course and reviewing them either on the Teleconnections thread and/or the Climate Change thread. This includes an excellent one on ENSO responses and changes due to global warming. Bob has produced many fact based analyses. This post looks into westerly wind bursts ahead of the 2015/16 super El Nino and he was spot on. He also describes how westerly wind bursts impact on the equatorial Pacific and why the widely anticipated 2013/14 El Nino failed to materialise. Link to full paper:
  14. The South Pacific Meridional Mode as a Thermally Driven Source of ENSO Amplitude Modulation and Uncertainty Authors: Sarah M. Larson, Kathy V. Pegion and Ben P. Kirtman Published: 5th June, 2018 Abstract: This study seeks to identify thermally driven sources of ENSO amplitude and uncertainty, as they are relatively unexplored compared to wind-driven sources. Pacific meridional modes are argued to be wind triggers for ENSO events. This study offers an alternative role for the South Pacific meridional mode (SPMM) in ENSO dynamics, not as an ENSO trigger, but as a coincident source of latent heat flux (LHF) forcing of ENSO SSTA that, if correctly (incorrectly) predicted, could reduce (increase) ENSO prediction errors. We utilize a coupled model simulation in which ENSO variability is perfectly periodic and each El Niño experiences identical wind stress forcing. Differences in El Niño amplitude are primarily thermally driven via the SPMM. When El Niño occurs coincidentally with positive phase SPMM, the positive SPMM LHF anomaly counteracts a fraction of the LHF damping of El Niño, allowing for a more intense El Niño. If the SPMM phase is instead negative, the SPMM LHF amplifies the LHF damping of El Niño, reducing the event’s amplitude. Therefore, SPMM LHF anomalies may either constructively or destructively interfere with coincident ENSO events, thus modulating the amplitude of ENSO. The ocean also plays a role, as the thermally forced SSTA is then advected westward by the mean zonal velocity, generating a warming or cooling in the ENSO SSTA tendency in addition to the wind-forced component. Results suggest that in addition to wind-driven sources, there exists a thermally driven piece to ENSO amplitude and uncertainty that is generally overlooked. Links between the SPMM and Pacific decadal variability are discussed. Link to full paper: This recent paper is still behind a paywall on the AMS website but I found the authors' pre-submission pdf version on the Researchgate site:
  15. Westerly Wind Events in the Tropical Pacific and their Influence on the Coupled Ocean‐Atmosphere System: A Review Authors: Matthieu Lengaigne, Jean‐Philippe Boulanger, Christophe Menkes, Pascale Delecluse, Julia Slingo, C. Wang, S.P. Xie and J.A. Carton Published: 19th March, 2013 Abstract: Observational and modeling aspects about Westerly Wind Events (WWEs) and their influence on the tropical Pacific Ocean-atmosphere system are reviewed. WWEs are a large part of the intraseasonal zonal wind activity over the warm pool. They have typical amplitudes of 7 m s-1, zonal width of 20° longitude and duration of about 8 days. Their root causes are often a combination of various factors including the Madden-Julian Oscillation, cold surges from mid-latitudes, tropical cyclones and other mesoscale phenomena. The relationship between WWEs and the ENSO cycle is complex, involving among others the equatorial characteristics of the WWEs, the oceanic background state and the internal atmospheric variability. Both observational and modeling studies demonstrate that WWEs tend to cool the far western Pacific, shift the warm pool eastward and warm the central-eastern Pacific through the generation of Kelvin waves. They are therefore important processes for the central and eastern Pacific warming during the onset and development phase of El Niño. The strong atmospheric feedbacks that are likely to be generated by the ocean response to WWEs even suggest that a single WWE is capable of establishing the conditions under which El Niño can occur. The important role played by WWEs in the evolution and amplitude of recent El Niño events may therefore strongly limit the predictability of El Niño. Link to full paper: t
  16. A Review of ENSO Theories Authors: Chunzai Wang Published: 10th October, 2018 Abstract: The ENSO occurrence can be usually explained by two views of (1) a self-sustained oscillatory mode and (2) a stable mode interacting with high-frequency forcing such as westerly wind bursts and Madden-Julian Oscillation events. The positive ocean-atmosphere feedback in the tropical Pacific hypothesized by Bjerknes leads ENSO event to a mature phase. After ENSO event matures, negative feedbacks are needed to cease ENSO anomaly growth. Four negative feedbacks have been proposed: (1) reflected Kelvin waves at the ocean western boundary, (2) a discharge process due to Sverdrup transport, (3) western Pacific wind-forced Kelvin waves, and (4) anomalous zonal advections and wave reflection at the ocean eastern boundary. These four ENSO mechanisms are respectively called as the delayed oscillator, the recharge-discharge oscillator, the western Pacific oscillator and the advective-reflective oscillator. The unified oscillator is developed by including all ENSO mechanisms, i.e., all of four ENSO oscillators are special cases of the unified oscillator. The tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere interaction can also induce coupled slow westward and eastward propagating modes. An advantage of the coupled slow modes is that they can be used to explain the propagating property of interannual anomalies, whereas the oscillatory modes produce a standing oscillation. The research community has recently paid attention to different types of ENSO events by focusing on the central Pacific El Niño. All of the ENSO mechanisms may work for the central Pacific El Niño events, with an addition that the central Pacific El Niño may be related to forcing or processes in the extratropical Pacific. Link to full paper: This very recent paper is behind a paywall but I found this link to the pre-submission version: Once in the Researchgate site, you'll find a personally downloadable to your own browser pdf file.
  17. Westerly Wind Bursts and Their Relationship with Intraseasonal Variations and ENSO. Part I: Statistics Authors: Ayako Seiki, Yukari N. Takayabu Published: Oct 2007 Abstract: Statistical features of the relationship among westerly wind bursts (WWBs), the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and intraseasonal variations (ISVs) were examined using 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis data (ERA-40) for the period of January 1979–August 2002. WWBs were detected over the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, but not over the Atlantic Ocean. WWB frequencies for each region were lag correlated with a sea surface temperature anomaly over the Niño-3 region. WWBs tended to occur in sequence, from the western to eastern Pacific, leading the El Niño peak by 9 months to 1 month, respectively, and after around 11 months, over the Indian Ocean. These results suggest that WWB occurrences are not random, but interactive with ENSO. Composite analysis revealed that most WWBs were associated with slowdowns of eastward-propagating convective regions like the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), with the intensified Rossby wave response. However, seasonal and interannual variations in MJO amplitude were not correlated with WWB frequency, while a strong MJO event tended to bear WWBs. It is suggested that the strong MJO amplitude promotes favorable conditions, but it is not the only factor influencing WWB frequency. An environment common to WWB generation in all regions was the existence of background westerlies around the WWB center near the equator. It is inferred that ENSO prepares a favorable environment for the structural transformation of an MJO, that is, the intensified Rossby wave response, that results in WWB generations. The role of the background wind fields on WWB generations will be discussed in a companion paper from the perspective of energetics. Link to full paper:
  18. Westerly Wind Bursts: ENSO’s Tail Rather than the Dog? Authors: EISENMAN, YU, TZIPERMAN Published: Jan 2005 Abstract: Westerly wind bursts (WWBs) in the equatorial Pacific occur during the development of most El Niño events and are believed to be a major factor in ENSO’s dynamics. Because of their short time scale, WWBs are normally considered part of a stochastic forcing of ENSO, completely external to the interannual ENSO variability. Recent observational studies, however, suggest that the occurrence and characteristics of WWBs may depend to some extent on the state of ENSO components, implying that WWBs, which force ENSO, are modulated by ENSO itself. Satellite and in situ observations are used here to show that WWBs are significantly more likely to occur when the warm pool is extended eastward. Based on these observations, WWBs are added to an intermediate complexity coupled ocean–atmosphere ENSO model. The representation of WWBs is idealized such that their occurrence is modulated by the warm pool extent. The resulting model run is compared with a run in which the WWBs are stochastically applied. The modulation of WWBs by ENSO results in an enhancement of the slow frequency component of the WWBs. This causes the amplitude of ENSO events forced by modulated WWBs to be twice as large as the amplitude of ENSO events forced by stochastic WWBs with the same amplitude and average frequency. Based on this result, it is suggested that the modulation of WWBs by the equatorial Pacific SST is a critical element of ENSO’s dynamics, and that WWBs should not be regarded as purely stochastic forcing. In the paradigm proposed here, WWBs are still an important aspect of ENSO’s dynamics, but they are treated as being partially stochastic and partially affected by the large-scale ENSO dynamics, rather than being completely external to ENSO. It is further shown that WWB modulation by the large-scale equatorial SST field is roughly equivalent to an increase in the ocean–atmosphere coupling strength, making the coupled equatorial Pacific effectively self-sustained. Link to full paper:
  19. Genesis of westerly wind bursts over the equatorial western Pacific during the onset of the strong 2015–2016 El Niño Authors: Shangfeng Chen, Renguang Wu, Wen Chen, Bin Yu, Xi Cao Published: June 2016 Abstract: The strong 2015–2016 El Niño was initiated by several strong westerly wind bursts over the equatorial western Pacific in March and May 2015. These westerly wind bursts trigger eastward propagating warm Kelvin waves and lead to large sea surface temperature (SST) warming in the equatorial eastern Pacific. The first burst of westerly winds in early March was mainly induced by the Arctic Oscillation (AO) event. These westerly wind anomalies were enhanced subsequently due to the Madden‐Julian Oscillation activity and northerly cold surges from East Asia‐western Pacific in mid‐March. Another westerly wind burst in May, induced by anomalous southerly winds from the Australian continent, further increased the SST anomaly in the equatorial eastern Pacific. This study provides an evidence of the AO influence on this strong El Niño‐Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event and demonstrates the complexity in the genesis of westerly wind bursts during the El Niño outbreak, which may help improve the prediction of ENSO. Link to full paper:
  20. Strong influence of westerly wind bursts on El Niño diversity Authors: Dake Chen, Tao Lian, Congbin Fu, Lei Zhou Published: April 2015 Abstract: Despite the tremendous progress in the theory, observation and prediction of El Niño over the past three decades, the classification of El Niño diversity and the genesis of such diversity are still debated. This uncertainty renders El Niño prediction a continuously challenging task, as manifested by the absence of the large warm event in 2014 that was expected by many. We propose a unified perspective on El Niño diversity as well as its causes, and support our view with a fuzzy clustering analysis and model experiments. Specifically, the interannual variability of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean can generally be classified into three warm patterns and one cold pattern, which together constitute a canonical cycle of El Niño/La Niña and its different flavours. Although the genesis of the canonical cycle can be readily explained by classic theories, we suggest that the asymmetry, irregularity and extremes of El Niño result from westerly wind bursts, a type of state-dependent atmospheric perturbation in the equatorial Pacific. Westerly wind bursts strongly affect El Niño but not La Niña because of their unidirectional nature. We conclude that properly accounting for the interplay between the canonical cycle and westerly wind bursts may improve El Niño prediction. Link to full paper:
  21. Multivariate ENSO Index - NOAA homepage Author/Contact: NOAA/ESRL Contents: El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the most important coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon to cause global climate variability on interannual time scales. Here we attempt to monitor ENSO by basing the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) on the six main observed variables over the tropical Pacific. These six variables are: sea-level pressure (P), zonal (U) and meridional (V) components of the surface wind, sea surface temperature (S), surface air temperature (A), and total cloudiness fraction of the sky (C). These observations have been collected and published in ICOADS for many years. The MEI is computed separately for each of twelve sliding bi-monthly seasons (Dec/Jan, Jan/Feb,..., Nov/Dec). After spatially filtering the individual fields into clusters (Wolter, 1987), the MEI is calculated as the first unrotated Principal Component (PC) of all six observed fields combined. This is accomplished by normalizing the total variance of each field first, and then performing the extraction of the first PC on the co-variance matrix of the combined fields (Wolter and Timlin, 1993). In order to keep the MEI comparable, all seasonal values are standardized with respect to each season and to the 1950-93 reference period. This webpage consists of seven main parts, three of which are updated every month: 1. A short description of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI); 2. Historic La Niña events since 1950; 3. Historic El Niño events since 1950; 4. MONTHLY UPDATED MEI loading maps for the latest season; 5. MONTHLY UPDATED MEI anomaly maps for the latest season; 6. MONTHLY UPDATED Discussion of recent conditions; 7. Publications and MEI data access. Link to NOAA MEI webpage:
  22. El Niño/Southern Oscillation behaviour since 1871 as diagnosed in an extended multivariate ENSO index (MEI.ext) Authors: Klaus Wolter, Michael S. Timlin Published: April 2011 Abstract: El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains the most important coupled ocean–atmosphere phenomenon to cause global climate variability on seasonal to interannual time scales. This paper addresses the need for a reliable ENSO index that allows for the historical definition of ENSO events in the instrumental record back to 1871. The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) was originally defined as the first seasonally varying principal component of six atmosphere–ocean (COADS) variable fields in the tropical Pacific basin. It provides for a more complete and flexible description of the ENSO phenomenon than single variable ENSO indices such as the SOI or Niño 3.4 SST. Here we describe our effort to boil the MEI concept down to its most essential components (based on SLP, SST) to enable historical analyses that more than double its period of record to 1871–2005. The new MEI.ext confirms that ENSO activity went through a lull in the early‐ to mid‐20th century, but was just about as prevalent one century ago as in recent decades. We diagnose strong relationships between peak amplitudes of ENSO events and their duration, as well as between their peak amplitudes and their spacing (periodicity). Our effort is designed to help with the assessment of ENSO conditions through as long a record as possible to be able to differentiate between ‘natural’ ENSO behaviour in all its rich facets, and the ‘Brave New World’ of this phenomenon under evolving GHG‐related climate conditions. So far, none of the behaviour of recent ENSO events appears unprecedented, including duration, onset timing, and spacing in the last few decades compared to a full century before then. Link to full paper: Link to NOAA MEI Analysis and Charts pages:
  23. On the 60-month cycle of multivariate ENSO index Authors: Adriano Mazzarella, Andrea Giuliacci, Ioannis Liritzis Published: March 2010 Abstract: Many point indices have been developed to describe El Niño/Southern Oscillation, but the multivariate El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index (MEI) is considered the most representative since it links six different meteorological parameters measured over the tropical Pacific. Spectral analysis with appropriate data reduction techniques of monthly values of MEI (1950– 2008) has allowed the identification of a large 60-month cycle, statistically confident at a level larger than 99%. The highest values of MEI (typical of El Niño events) and the lowest values of MEI (typical of La Niña events) are concordant with respective maxima and minima values of the identified 60-month cycle. Link to full paper: Link to NOAA MEI Analysis and Charts pages:
  24. Causes and Predictability of the Negative Indian Ocean Dipole and Its Impact on La Niña During 2016 Authors: Eun-Pa Lim and Harry H. Hendon Published: 3rd October, 2017 Abstract: In the latter half of 2016 Indonesia and Australia experienced extreme wet conditions and East Africa suffered devastating drought, which have largely been attributed to the occurrence of strong negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and weak La Niña. Here we examine the causes and predictability of the strong negative IOD and its impact on the development of La Niña in 2016. Analysis on atmosphere and ocean reanalyses and forecast sensitivity experiments using the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamical seasonal forecast system reveals that this strong negative IOD, which peaked in July-September, developed primarily by the Indian Ocean surface and subsurface conditions. The long-term trend over the last 55 years in sea surface and subsurface temperatures, which is characterised by warming of the tropical Indian and western Pacific and cooling in the equatorial eastern Pacific, contributed positively to the extraordinary strength of this IOD. We further show that the strong negative IOD was a key promoter of the weak La Niña of 2016. Without the remote forcing from the IOD, this weak La Niña may have been substantially weaker because of the extraordinarily long-lasting warm surface condition over the dateline from the tail end of strong El Niño of 2015–16. Link to full paper:
  25. El Nino, El Nino Modoki, La Nina, Indian Ocean Dipole - YouTube Presentation Presentation Team from: PMF IAS Presentation Date: 29th October, 2015 Link to YouTube presentation (24 minutes): or click on the chart below: Link to Written Notes and Slides:
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