27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


Role of Indian and Pacific Ocean air-sea coupling in tropical atmospheric variability

Renguang Wu, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, Calverton, MD; and B. P. Kirtman

Sea surface temperature (SST) variations include negative feedbacks from the atmosphere, whereas SST anomalies are specified in stand-alone atmospheric general circulation simulations. Is the SST forced response the same as the coupled response? In this study, the importance of air-sea coupling in the Indian and Pacific Oceans for tropical atmospheric variability is investigated through numerical experiments with a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model. The local and remote impacts of the Indian and Pacific Ocean coupling are obtained by comparing a coupled simulation with an experiment in which the SST forcing from the coupled simulation is specified in either the Indian or the Pacific Ocean.

It is found that the Indian Ocean coupling is critical for atmospheric variability over the Pacific Ocean. Without the Indian Ocean coupling, the rainfall and SST variations are completely different throughout most of the Pacific Ocean basin. Without the Pacific Ocean coupling, part of the rainfall and SST variations in the Indian Ocean are reproduced in the forced run. In regions of large mean rainfall where the atmospheric negative feedback is strong, such as the North Indian Ocean and the western North Pacific in boreal summer, the atmospheric variability is significantly enhanced when air-sea coupling is replaced by specified SST forcing. This enhancement is due to the lack of the negative feedback in the forced SST simulation. In these regions, erroneous atmospheric anomalies could be induced by specified SST anomalies derived from the coupled model.


Session 13C, Ocean-Atmosphere
Thursday, 27 April 2006, 1:30 PM-2:45 PM, Big Sur

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