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A source of AGCM bias in simulating the western Pacific subtropical high: Different sensitivities to the two types of ENSO


This study reveals a possible cause of model bias in simulating the western Pacific subtropical high (WPSH) variability via an examination of an Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulation produced by the atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) developed at Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB). During boreal summer, the model overestimates the quasi-biennial (2-3 yr) band of WPSH variability but underestimates the low-frequency (3-5 yr) band of variability. The overestimation of the quasi-biennial WPSH sensitivity is found to be due to the model's stronger sensitivity to the central Pacific El Niño-Southern Oscillation (CP ENSO) that has a leading periodicity in the quasi-biennial band. The model underestimates the low-frequency WPSH variability because of its weaker sensitivity to the eastern Pacific (EP) ENSO that has a leading periodicity in the 3-5-yr band. These different model sensitivities are shown to be related to the relative strengths of the mean Hadley and Walker circulations simulated in the model. An overly strong Hadley circulation causes the CWB AGCM to be overly sensitive to the CP ENSO, while an overly weak Walker circulation results in a weak sensitivity to the EP ENSO. The relative strengths of the simulated mean Hadley and Walker circulations are critical to a realistic simulation of the summer WPSH variability in AGCMs. This conclusion is further supported using AMIP simulations produced by three other AGCMs, including the CanAM4, GISS-E2-R, and IPSL-CM5A-MR models.

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