AbstractPrevious studies have investigated the centennial and multidecadal trends of the Pacific and Indian Ocean Walker cells (WCs) during the past century, but have obtained no consensus owing to data uncertainties and weak signals of the long-term trends. This paper focuses on decadal variability (periods of one to few decades) by first documenting the variability of the WCs and warm-pool convection, and their covariability since the 1960s, using in situ and satellite observations and reanalysis products. The causes for the variability and covariability are then explored using a Bayesian dynamic linear model, which can extract nonstationary effects of climate modes. The warm-pool convection exhibits apparent decadal variability, generally covarying with the Indian and Pacific Ocean WCs during winter (November–April) with enhanced convection corresponding to intensified WCs, and the Indian–Pacific WCs covary. During summer (May–October), the warm-pool convection still highly covaries with the Pacific WC but does not covary with the Indian Ocean WC, and the Indian–Pacific WCs are uncorrelated. The wintertime coherent variability results from the vital influence of ENSO decadal variation, which reduces warm-pool convection and weakens the WCs during El Niño–like conditions. During summer, while ENSO decadal variability still dominates the Pacific WC, decadal variations of ENSO, the Indian Ocean dipole, Indian summer monsoon convection, and tropical Indian Ocean SST have comparable effects on the Indian Ocean WC overall, with monsoon convection having the largest effect since the 1990s. The complex causes for the Indian Ocean WC during summer result in its poor covariability with the Pacific WC and warm-pool convection.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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