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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Impacts of Pacific and Indian Ocean Coupling on Wintertime Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillation: A Basin-Coupling CGCM Study

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This study examines the respective influences of Pacific and Indian Ocean couplings on tropical intraseasonal oscillation (ISO) in boreal winter (November–April). Three basin-coupling experiments are performed with a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (CGCM), in which air-sea coupling is limited respectively to the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and both the oceans. The modelling results show that zonal ISO propagations can be found in the Indo-Pacific region with or without the ocean coupling; however, the propagation signals are enhanced by the coupling. In this particular model the Pacific Ocean coupling has a stronger influence on the ISO propagation than the Indian Ocean coupling. Without the Pacific coupling, the ISO propagation signal is weakened significantly when it enters the Pacific Ocean sector. Without the Indian Ocean coupling, the simulated ISO intensity is weakened less in the Indain Ocean, and significant zonal propagations of ISO can still be simulated in the sector. The relative importance of the ocean coupling is likely related to the smaller ISO-related sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the Indian Ocean than in the Pacific Ocean. In this particular CGCM, the ocean coupling affects the ISO propagation mainly through a wind-evaporation-SST feedback rather than a cloud-radiation-SST feedback, while in observations both processes are equally important. To further confirm the importance of the ocean coupling, forced atmospheric GCM experiments are performed with SSTs prescribed from the climatologies produced in the basin-coupling experiments. It is found that the eastward propagating feature seen in the CGCM experiments is weakened and dominated by the strong standing feature in the forced AGCM runs. The difference demonstrates the contribution of the ocean coupling to the ISO propagation, and also confirm that biases in the mean SST and low-level wind caused by the ocean coupling are responsible for the spurious standing ISO oscillation feature in the central Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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