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Title: Unusually warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures help to arrest development of El Nino in 2014

Abstract

In early 2014, strong westerly wind bursts (WWBs) and high heat content in the equatorial Pacific favored development of a major El Niño. However, significant coupling between the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere failed to take hold during boreal summer of 2014 such that only borderline El Niño conditions were evident by the end of the year. Observational analysis suggests that warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Indian Ocean in 2014 weakened westerly wind anomalies in the Pacific and may have helped to arrest the development of the El Niño. We test this hypothesis using an ensemble of coupled numerical experiments in which observed Indian Ocean SST anomalies in 2014–15 are prescribed but the Pacific Ocean-atmosphere system is free to evolve. Results confirm that warm SST anomalies in the Indian Ocean created conditions that would have favored a weakening of El Niño by suppressing the Bjerknes feedback in boreal summer of 2014. Furthermore, this process does not preclude others that have been proposed in the unusual evolution of El Niño SSTs in 2014, but it adds to the list a forcing mechanism external to the Pacific basin.

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. NOAA/PMEL, Seattle, WA (United States); Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. NOAA/PMEL, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1463348
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Dong, Lu, and McPhaden, Michael J. Unusually warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures help to arrest development of El Nino in 2014. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1038/S41598-018-20294-4.
Dong, Lu, & McPhaden, Michael J. Unusually warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures help to arrest development of El Nino in 2014. United States. doi:10.1038/S41598-018-20294-4.
Dong, Lu, and McPhaden, Michael J. Fri . "Unusually warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures help to arrest development of El Nino in 2014". United States. doi:10.1038/S41598-018-20294-4. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1463348.
@article{osti_1463348,
title = {Unusually warm Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures help to arrest development of El Nino in 2014},
author = {Dong, Lu and McPhaden, Michael J.},
abstractNote = {In early 2014, strong westerly wind bursts (WWBs) and high heat content in the equatorial Pacific favored development of a major El Niño. However, significant coupling between the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere failed to take hold during boreal summer of 2014 such that only borderline El Niño conditions were evident by the end of the year. Observational analysis suggests that warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Indian Ocean in 2014 weakened westerly wind anomalies in the Pacific and may have helped to arrest the development of the El Niño. We test this hypothesis using an ensemble of coupled numerical experiments in which observed Indian Ocean SST anomalies in 2014–15 are prescribed but the Pacific Ocean-atmosphere system is free to evolve. Results confirm that warm SST anomalies in the Indian Ocean created conditions that would have favored a weakening of El Niño by suppressing the Bjerknes feedback in boreal summer of 2014. Furthermore, this process does not preclude others that have been proposed in the unusual evolution of El Niño SSTs in 2014, but it adds to the list a forcing mechanism external to the Pacific basin.},
doi = {10.1038/S41598-018-20294-4},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
number = 1,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

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Cited by: 4 works
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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Interbasin coupling between the tropical Indian and Pacific Ocean on interannual timescale: observation and CMIP5 reproduction
    journal, March 2016


    Exceptionally strong easterly wind burst stalling El Niño of 2014
    journal, February 2016

    • Hu, Shineng; Fedorov, Alexey V.
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1514182113

    El Niño tests forecasters
    journal, April 2014


    The Footprint of the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation in Indian Ocean Sea Surface Temperatures
    journal, February 2016

    • Dong, Lu; Zhou, Tianjun; Dai, Aiguo
    • Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/srep21251

    Causes and Predictability of the Negative Indian Ocean Dipole and Its Impact on La Niña During 2016
    journal, October 2017


    Placing the AD 2014–2016 ‘protracted’ El Niño episode into a long-term context
    journal, September 2019


    Genesis and Evolution of the 1997-98 El Nino
    journal, February 1999


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    journal, February 2010

    • Izumo, Takeshi; Vialard, Jérôme; Lengaigne, Matthieu
    • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, Issue 3
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    Playing hide and seek with El Niño
    journal, August 2015


    Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus
    journal, June 2015


    The role of off-equatorial surface temperature anomalies in the 2014 El Niño prediction
    journal, January 2016

    • Zhu, Jieshun; Kumar, Arun; Huang, Bohua
    • Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1038/srep19677

    An Asian–Pacific teleconnection in summer tropospheric temperature and associated Asian climate variability
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    Placing the AD 2014–2016 ‘protracted’ El Niño episode into a long-term context
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