The present study documents the influence of El Niño and La Niña events on the spread and predictability of rainfall, surface pressure, and 500-hPa geopotential height, and contrasts the relative contribution of signal and noise changes to the predictability change based on a long-term integration of an interactive ensemble coupled general circulation model. It is found that the pattern of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-induced noise change for rainfall follows closely that of the corresponding signal change in most of the tropical regions. The noise for tropical Pacific surface pressure is larger (smaller) in regions of lower (higher) mean pressure. The ENSO-induced noise change for 500-hPa height displays smaller spatial scales compared to and has no systematic relationship with the signal change. The predictability for tropical rainfall and surface pressure displays obvious contrasts between the summer and winter over the Bay of Bengal, the western North Pacific, and the tropical southwestern Indian Ocean. The predictability for tropical 500-hPa height is higher in boreal summer than in boreal winter. In the equatorial central Pacific, the predictability for rainfall is much higher in La Niña years than in El Niño years. This occurs because of a larger percent reduction in the amplitude of noise compared to the percent decrease in the magnitude of signal from El Niño to La Niña years. A consistent change is seen in the predictability for surface pressure near the date line. In the western North and South Pacific, the predictability for boreal winter rainfall is higher in El Niño years than in La Niña years. This is mainly due to a stronger signal in El Niño years compared to La Niña years. The predictability for 500-hPa height increases over most of the Tropics in El Niño years. Over western tropical Pacific-Australia and East Asia, the predictability for boreal winter surface pressure and 500-hPa height is higher in El Niño years than in La Niña years. The predictability change for 500-hPa height is primarily due to the signal change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science