Study of the global and regional climatic impacts of ENSO magnitude using SPEEDY AGCM

Muhammad Mubashar Dogar, Fred Kucharski, Syed Azharuddin

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41 Scopus citations


ENSO is considered as a strong atmospheric teleconnection that has pronounced global and regional circulation effects. It modifies global monsoon system, especially, Asian and African monsoons. Previous studies suggest that both the frequency and magnitude of ENSO events have increased over the last few decades resulting in a need to study climatic impacts of ENSO magnitude both at global and regional scales. Hence, to better understand the impact of ENSO amplitude over the tropical and extratropical regions focussing on the Asian and African domains, ENSO sensitivity experiments are conducted using ICTPAGCM (‘SPEEDY’). It is anticipated that the tropical Pacific SST forcing will be enough to produce ENSO-induced teleconnection patterns; therefore, the model is forced using NINO3.4 regressed SST anomalies over the tropical Pacific only. SPEEDY reproduces the impact of ENSO over the Pacific, North and South America and African regions very well. However, it underestimates ENSO teleconnection patterns and associated changes over South Asia, particularly in the Indian region, which suggests that the tropical Pacific SST forcing is not sufficient to represent ENSO-induced teleconnection patterns over South Asia. Therefore, SST forcing over the tropical Indian Ocean together with air–sea coupling is also required for better representation of ENSO-induced changes in these regions. Moreover, results obtained by this pacemaker experiment show that ENSO impacts are relatively stronger over the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) compared to extratropics and high latitude regions. The positive phase of ENSO causes weakening in rainfall activity over African tropical rain belt, parts of South and Southeast Asia, whereas, the La Niña phase produces more rain over these regions during the summer season. Model results further reveal that ENSO magnitude has a stronger impact over African Sahel and South Asia, especially over the Indian region because of its significant impact over the tropical Atlantic and the Indian Ocean through Walker circulation. ENSO-induced negative (positive) NAO-like response and associated changes over Southern Europe and North Africa get significantly strong following increased intensity of El Niño (La Niña) in the northern (southern) hemisphere in the boreal winter (summer) season. We further find that ENSO magnitude significantly impacts Hadley and Walker circulations. The positive phase of ENSO (El Niño) overall strengthens Hadley cell and a reverse is true for the La Niña phase. ENSO-induced strengthening and weakening of Hadley cell induces significant impact over South Asian and African ITCZ convective regions through modification of ITCZ/monsoon circulation system.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Earth System Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 9 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers whose constructive suggestions and comments significantly improved the manuscript. We are also thankful to the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy, for providing computational facilities and technical support to perform the experiments at ICTP computer lab. The first author is supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. The simulation results and figures are available from the authors on request.


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