AbstractTeleconnection patterns associated with the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) significantly alter extratropical circulations, impacting weather and climate phenomena such as blocking, monsoons, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Pacific–North American pattern. However, the MJO has been extremely difficult to simulate in many general circulation models (GCMs), and many GCMs contain large biases in the background flow, presenting challenges to the simulation of MJO teleconnection patterns and associated extratropical impacts. In this study, the database from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) is used to assess the impact of model MJO and basic state quality on MJO teleconnection pattern quality, and a simple dry linear baroclinic model is employed to understand the results. Even in GCMs assessed to have good MJOs, large biases in the MJO teleconnection patterns are produced as a result of errors in the zonal extent of the Pacific subtropical jet. The horizontal structure of Indo-Pacific MJO heating in good MJO models is found to have modest impacts on the teleconnection pattern skill, in agreement with previous studies that have demonstrated little sensitivity to the location of tropical heating near the subtropical jet. However, MJO heating east of the date line can alter the teleconnection pathways over North America. Results show that GCMs with poor basic states can have equally low skill in reproducing the MJO teleconnection patterns as GCMs with poor MJO quality, suggesting that both the basic state and the MJO must be well represented in order to reproduce the correct teleconnection patterns.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 3, 2017
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