Impact of interactive westerly wind bursts on CCSM3

Hosmay Lopez, Ben P. Kirtman, Eli Tziperman, Geoffrey Gebbie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

37 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-51
Number of pages28
JournalDynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

Keywords

  • Coupled general circulation models
  • ENSO
  • Kelvin waves
  • Stochastic processes
  • Wind stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Atmospheric Science

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