The impact of air-sea interactions on the predictability of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation

Kathy Pegion, Ben P. Kirtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates whether air-sea interactions contribute to differences in the predictability of the boreal winter tropical intraseasonal oscillation (TISO) using the NCEP operational climate model. A series of coupled and uncoupled, "perfect" model predictability experiments are performed for 10 strong model intraseasonal events. The uncoupled experiments are forced by prescribed SST containing different types of variability. These experiments are specifically designed to be directly comparable to actual forecasts. Predictability estimates are calculated using three metrics, including one that does not require the use of time filtering. The estimates are compared between these experiments to determine the impact of coupled air-sea interactions on the predictability of the tropical intraseasonal oscillation and the sensitivity of the potential predictability estimates to the different SST forcings. Results from all three metrics are surprisingly similar. They indicate that predictability estimates are longest for precipitation and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) when the ensemble mean from the coupled model is used. Most importantly, the experiments that contain intraseasonally varying SST consistently predict the control events better than those that do not for precipitation, OLR, 200-hPa zonal wind, and 850-hPa zonal wind after the first 10 days. The uncoupled model is able to predict the TISO with similar skill to that of the coupled model, provided that an SST forecast that includes these intraseasonal variations is used to force the model. This indicates that the intraseasonally varying SSTs are a key factor for increased predictability and presumably better prediction of the TISO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5870-5886
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume21
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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