Near-annual SST variability in the Equatorial Pacific in a coupled general circulation model

Renguang Wu, Benjamin Kirtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) interactive ensemble coupled general circulation model show near-annual variability as well as biennial El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability. There are two types of near-annual modes: a westward propagating mode and a stationary mode. For the westward propagating near-annual mode, warm SST anomalies are generated in the eastern equatorial Pacific in boreal spring and propagate westward in boreal summer. Consistent westward propagation is seen in precipitation, surface wind, and ocean current. For the stationary near-annual mode, warm SST anomalies develop near the date line in boreal winter and decay locally in boreal spring. Westward propagation of warm SST anomalies also appears in the developing year of the biennial ENSO mode. However, warm SST anomalies for the westward propagating near-annual mode occur about two months earlier than those for the biennial ENSO mode and are quickly replaced by cold SST anomalies, whereas warm SST anomalies for the biennial ENSO mode only experience moderate weakening. Anomalous zonal advection contributes to the generation and westward propagation of warm SST anomalies for both the westward propagating near-annual mode and the biennial ENSO mode. However, the role of mean upwelling is markedly different. The mean upwelling term contributes to the generation of warm SST anomalies for the biennial ENSO mode, but is mainly a damping term for the westward propagating near-annual mode. The development of warm SST anomalies for the stationary near-annual mode is partially due to anomalous zonal advection and upwelling, similar to the amplification of warm SST anomalies in the equatorial central Pacific for the biennial ENSO mode. The mean upwelling term is negative in the eastern equatorial Pacific for the stationary near-annual mode, which is opposite to the ENSO mode. The development of cold SST anomalies in the aftermath of warm SST anomalies for the westward propagating near-annual mode is coupled to large easterly wind anomalies, which occur between the warm and cold SST anomalies. The easterly anomalies contribute to the cold SST anomalies through anomalous zonal, meridional, and vertical advection and surface evaporation. The cold SST anomalies, in turn, enhance the easterly anomalies through a Rossby-wave-type response. The above processes are most effective during boreal spring when the mean near-surface-layer ocean temperature gradient is the largest. It is suggested that the westward propagating near-annual mode is related to air-sea interaction processes that are limited to the near-surface layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4454-4473
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume18
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

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temperature anomaly
general circulation model
sea surface temperature
Southern Oscillation
upwelling
advection
anomaly
surface layer
air-sea interaction
Rossby wave
surface wind
temperature gradient
damping
amplification
evaporation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Near-annual SST variability in the Equatorial Pacific in a coupled general circulation model. / Wu, Renguang; Kirtman, Benjamin.

In: Journal of Climate, Vol. 18, No. 21, 01.11.2005, p. 4454-4473.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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