Interannual linkage between Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation and tropical Indian Ocean precipitation during boreal winter

Abstract

In the study authors analyzed the interannual relationship between the Arctic Oscillation (AO)/North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the tropical Indian Ocean (TIO) precipitation in boreal winter for the period 1979–2009. A significant simultaneous teleconnection between them is found. After removing the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean dipole signals, the AO/NAO and the TIO precipitation (0°–10°S, 60°–80°E) yield a correlation of +0.56, which is also consistent with the AO/NAO-outgoing longwave radiation correlation of −0.61. The atmospheric and oceanic features in association with the AO/NAO-precipitation links are investigated. During positive AO/NAO winter, the Rossby wave guided by westerlies tends to trigger persistent positive geopotential heights in upper troposphere over about 20°–30°N and 55°–70°E, which is accompanied by a stronger Middle East jet stream. Meanwhile, there are anomalous downward air motions, strengthening the air pressure in mid-lower troposphere. The enhanced Arabian High brings anomalous northern winds over the northern Indian Ocean. As a result the anomalous crossing-equator air-flow enhances the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). On the other hand, the anomalous Ekman transport convergence by the wind stress curl over the central TIO deepens the thermocline. Both the enhanced ITCZ and the anomalous upper ocean heat content favor in situ precipitation in the central TIO. The AO/NAO-TIO precipitation co-variations in the IPCC AR4 historical climate simulation (1850–1999) of Bergen Climate Model version 2 were investigated. The Indian Ocean precipitation anomalies (particularly the convective precipitation along the ITCZ), in conjunction with the corresponding surface winds and 200 hPa anticyclonic atmospheric circulation and upper ocean heat contents were well reproduced in simulation. The similarity between the observation and simulation support the physical robustness of the AO/NAO-TIO precipitation links.

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