Journal of Climate: Vol. 16, No. 8, pp. 1195每1211.

Atmosphere每Warm Ocean Interaction and Its Impacts on Asian每Australian Monsoon Variation*

Bin Wang

International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Renguang Wu

International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

Tim Li

International Pacific Research Center, and Department of Meteorology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

(Manuscript received 5 April 2002, in final form 9 September 2002)


Asian每Australian monsoon (A每AM) anomalies depend strongly on phases of El Niño (La Niña). Based on this distinctive feature, a method of extended singular value decomposition analysis was developed to analyze the changing characteristics of A每AM anomalies during El Niño (La Niña) from its development to decay. Two off-equatorial surface anticyclones dominate the A每AM anomalies during an El Niño〞one over the south Indian Ocean (SIO) and the other over the western North Pacific (WNP). The SIO anticyclone, which affects climate conditions over the Indian Ocean, eastern Africa, and India, originates during the summer of a growing El Niño, rapidly reaches its peak intensity in fall, and decays when El Niño matures. The WNP anticyclone, on the other hand, forms in fall, attains maximum intensity after El Niño matures, and persists through the subsequent spring and summer, providing a prolonged impact on the WNP and east Asian climate. The monsoon anomalies associated with a La Niña resemble those during an El Niño but with cyclonic anomalies. From the development summer to the decay summer of an El Niño (La Niña), the anomalous sea level pressure, low-level winds, and vertical motion tend to reverse their signs in the equatorial Indian and western Pacific Oceans (10∼S每20∼N, 40∼每160∼E). This suggests that the tropospheric biennial oscillation is intimately linked to the turnabouts of El Niño and La Niña.

The remote El Niño forcing alone can explain neither the unusual amplification of the SIO anticyclone during a developing El Niño nor the maintenance of the WNP anticyclone during a decaying El Niño. The atmosphere每ocean conditions in the two anticyclone regions are similar, namely, a zonal sea surface temperature (SST) dipole with cold water to the east and warm water to the west of the anticyclone center. These conditions result from positive feedback between the anomalous anticyclone and the SST dipole, which intensifies the coupled mode in the SIO during El Niño growth and maintains the coupled mode in the WNP during El Niño decay. The interactions in the two anticyclone regions share common wind evaporation/entrainment and cloud每radiation feedback processes but they differ with regard to the oceanic dynamics (vertical and horizontal advection and thermocline adjustment by oceanic waves). The outcome of the interactions in both regions, however, depends crucially on the climatological surface winds. The SIO-coupled mode is triggered by El Niño-induced subsidence and alongshore winds off the coast of Sumatra. However, other independent El Niño local and remote forcing can also trigger this coupled mode.

The traditional view has regarded SST anomalies in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans as causing the A每AM variability. The present analysis suggests that the SST anomalies in these warm ocean regions are, to a large extent, a result of anomalous monsoons. Thus, the atmosphere每warm ocean interaction may significantly modify the impacts of remote El Niño forcing and should be regarded as one of the physical factors that determine the variability of the A每AM.

During the summer of El Niño development, the remote El Niño forcing plays a major role in the A每AM anomalies that exhibit obvious equatorial asymmetry. A tilted anticyclonic ridge originates in the Maritime Continent and extends to southern India, weakening the Indian monsoon while strengthening the WNP monsoon. Numerical modeling experiments suggest that the mean monsoon circulation enhances the equatorial Rossby wave response in the easterly vertical shear region of the Northern Hemisphere and creates the equatorial asymmetry.

© Copyright by American Meteorological Society 2003