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2016 Vol. 33, No. 4

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Preface to the Special Issue "Unified Perspective of Climate Variability and Change"
Shang-Ping XIE
2016, 33(4): 409-410. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-0003-7
Indo-Western Pacific Ocean Capacitor and Coherent Climate Anomalies in Post-ENSO Summer: A Review
Shang-Ping XIE, Yu KOSAKA, Yan DU, Kaiming HU, Jasti S. CHOWDARY, Gang HUANG
2016, 33(4): 411-432. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5192-6
ENSO induces coherent climate anomalies over the Indo-western Pacific, but these anomalies outlast SST anomalies of the equatorial Pacific by a season, with major effects on the Asian summer monsoon. This review provides historical accounts of major milestones and synthesizes recent advances in the endeavor to understand summer variability over the Indo-Northwest Pacific region. Specifically, a large-scale anomalous anticyclone (AAC) is a recurrent pattern in post-El Niño summers, spanning the tropical Northwest Pacific and North Indian oceans. Regarding the ocean memory that anchors the summer AAC, competing hypotheses emphasize either SST cooling in the easterly trade wind regime of the Northwest Pacific or SST warming in the westerly monsoon regime of the North Indian Ocean. Our synthesis reveals a coupled ocean-atmosphere mode that builds on both mechanisms in a two-stage evolution. In spring, when the northeast trades prevail, the AAC and Northwest Pacific cooling are coupled via wind-evaporation-SST feedback. The Northwest Pacific cooling persists to trigger a summer feedback that arises from the interaction of the AAC and North Indian Ocean warming, enabled by the westerly monsoon wind regime. This Indo-western Pacific ocean capacitor (IPOC) effect explains why El Niño stages its last act over the monsoonal Indo-Northwest Pacific and casts the Indian Ocean warming and AAC in leading roles. The IPOC displays interdecadal modulations by the ENSO variance cycle, significantly correlated with ENSO at the turn of the 20th century and after the 1970s, but not in between. Outstanding issues, including future climate projections, are also discussed.
Evaluating the Formation Mechanisms of the Equatorial Pacific SST Warming Pattern in CMIP5 Models
Jun YING, Ping HUANG, Ronghui HUANG
2016, 33(4): 433-441. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5184-6
Based on the historical and RCP8.5 runs of the multi-model ensemble of 32 models participating in CMIP5, the present study evaluates the formation mechanisms for the patterns of changes in equatorial Pacific SST under global warming. Two features with complex formation processes, the zonal El Niño-like pattern and the meridional equatorial peak warming (EPW), are investigated. The climatological evaporation is the main contributor to the El Niño-like pattern, while the ocean dynamical thermostat effect plays a comparable negative role. The cloud-shortwave-radiation-SST feedback and the weakened Walker circulation play a small positive role in the El Niño-like pattern. The processes associated with ocean dynamics are confined to the equator. The climatological evaporation is also the dominant contributor to the EPW pattern, as suggested in previous studies. However, the effects of some processes are inconsistent with previous studies. For example, changes in the zonal heat advection due to the weakened Walker circulation have a remarkable positive contribution to the EPW pattern, and changes in the shortwave radiation play a negative role in the EPW pattern.
Role of Horizontal Density Advection in Seasonal Deepening of the Mixed Layer in the Subtropical Southeast Pacific
Qinyu LIU, Yiqun LU
2016, 33(4): 442-451. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5111-x
The mechanisms behind the seasonal deepening of the mixed layer (ML) in the subtropical Southeast Pacific were investigated using the monthly Argo data from 2004 to 2012. The region with a deep ML (more than 175 m) was found in the region of (22°-30°S, 105°-90°W), reaching its maximum depth (∼200 m) near (27°-28°S, 100°W) in September. The relative importance of horizontal density advection in determining the maximum ML location is discussed qualitatively. Downward Ekman pumping is key to determining the eastern boundary of the deep ML region. In addition, zonal density advection by the subtropical countercurrent (STCC) in the subtropical Southwest Pacific determines its western boundary, by carrying lighter water to strengthen the stratification and form a "shallow tongue" of ML depth to block the westward extension of the deep ML in the STCC region. The temperature advection by the STCC is the main source for large heat loss from the subtropical Southwest Pacific. Finally, the combined effect of net surface heat flux and meridional density advection by the subtropical gyre determines the northern and southern boundaries of the deep ML region: the ocean heat loss at the surface gradually increases from 22°S to 35°S, while the meridional density advection by the subtropical gyre strengthens the stratification south of the maximum ML depth and weakens the stratification to the north. The freshwater flux contribution to deepening the ML during austral winter is limited. The results are useful for understanding the role of ocean dynamics in the ML formation in the subtropical Southeast Pacific.
Changes in Mixed Layer Depth and Spring Bloom in the Kuroshio Extension under Global Warming
Ruosi ZHANG, Shang-Ping XIE, Lixiao XU, Qinyu LIU
2016, 33(4): 452-461. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5113-8
The mixed layer is deep in January-April in the Kuroshio Extension region. This paper investigates the response in this region of mixed layer depth (MLD) and the spring bloom initiation to global warming using the output of 15 models from CMIP5. The models indicate that in the late 21st century the mixed layer will shoal, and the MLD reduction will be most pronounced in spring at about 33°N on the southern edge of the present deep-MLD region. The advection of temperature change in the upper 100 m by the mean eastward flow explains the spatial pattern of MLD shoaling in the models. Associated with the shoaling mixed layer, the onset of spring bloom inception is projected to advance due to the strengthened stratification in the warming climate.
Historical Change and Future Scenarios of Sea Level Rise in Macau and Adjacent Waters
2016, 33(4): 462-475. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5047-1
Against a background of climate change, Macau is very exposed to sea level rise (SLR) because of its low elevation, small size, and ongoing land reclamation. Therefore, we evaluate sea level changes in Macau, both historical and, especially, possible future scenarios, aiming to provide knowledge and a framework to help accommodate and protect against future SLR. Sea level in Macau is now rising at an accelerated rate: 1.35 mm yr-1 over 1925-2010 and jumping to 4.2 mm yr-1 over 1970-2010, which outpaces the rise in global mean sea level. In addition, vertical land movement in Macau contributes little to local sea level change. In the future, the rate of SLR in Macau will be about 20% higher than the global average, as a consequence of a greater local warming tendency and strengthened northward winds. Specifically, the sea level is projected to rise 8-12, 22-51 and 35-118 cm by 2020, 2060 and 2100, respectively, depending on the emissions scenario and climate sensitivity. Under the +8.5 W m-2 Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP8.5) scenario the increase in sea level by 2100 will reach 65-118 cm——double that under RCP2.6. Moreover, the SLR will accelerate under RCP6.0 and RCP8.5, while remaining at a moderate and steady rate under RCP4.5 and RCP2.6. The key source of uncertainty stems from the emissions scenario and climate sensitivity, among which the discrepancies in SLR are small during the first half of the 21st century but begin to diverge thereafter.
The Positive Indian Ocean Dipole-like Response in the Tropical Indian Ocean to Global Warming
Yiyong LUO, Jian LU, Fukai LIU, Xiuquan WAN
2016, 33(4): 476-488. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5027-5
Climate models project a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (pIOD)-like SST response in the tropical Indian Ocean to global warming. By employing the Community Earth System Model and applying an overriding technique to its ocean component (version 2 of the Parallel Ocean Program), this study investigates the similarities and differences of the formation mechanisms for the changes in the tropical Indian Ocean during the pIOD versus global warming. Results show that their formation processes and related seasonality are quite similar; in particular, wind-thermocline-SST feedback is the leading mechanism in producing the anomalous cooling over the eastern tropics in both cases. Some differences are also found, including the fact that the cooling effect of the vertical advection over the eastern tropical Indian Ocean is dominated by the anomalous vertical velocity during the pIOD but by the anomalous upper-ocean stratification under global warming. These findings are further examined through an analysis of the mixed layer heat budget.
The Southwest Indian Ocean Thermocline Dome in CMIP5 Models: Historical Simulation and Future Projection
Xiao-Tong ZHENG, Lihui GAO, Gen LI, Yan DU
2016, 33(4): 489-503. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5076-9
Using 20 models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), the simulation of the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) thermocline dome is evaluated and its role in shaping the Indian Ocean Basin (IOB) mode following El Niño investigated. In most of the CMIP5 models, due to an easterly wind bias along the equator, the simulated SWIO thermocline is too deep, which could further influence the amplitude of the interannual IOB mode. A model with a shallow (deep) thermocline dome tends to simulate a strong (weak) IOB mode, including key attributes such as the SWIO SST warming, antisymmetric pattern during boreal spring, and second North Indian Ocean warming during boreal summer. Under global warming, the thermocline dome deepens with the easterly wind trend along the equator in most of the models. However, the IOB amplitude does not follow such a change of the SWIO thermocline among the models; rather, it follows future changes in both ENSO forcing and local convection feedback, suggesting a decreasing effect of the deepening SWIO thermocline dome on the change in the IOB mode in the future.
Change of Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential in Response to Global Warming
Ran LIU, Changlin CHEN, Guihua WANG
2016, 33(4): 504-510. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5112-9
Tropical cyclone heat potential (TCHP) in the ocean can affect tropical cyclone intensity and intensification. In this paper, TCHP change under global warming is presented based on 35 models from CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5). As the upper ocean warms up, the TCHP of the global ocean is projected to increase by 140.6% in the 21st century under the RCP4.5 (+4.5 W m-2 Representative Concentration Pathway) scenario. The increase is particularly significant in the western Pacific, northwestern Indian and western tropical Atlantic oceans. The increase of TCHP results from the ocean temperature warming above the depth of the 26°C isotherm (D26), the deepening of D26, and the horizontal area expansion of SST above 26°C. Their contributions are 69.4%, 22.5% and 8.1%, respectively. Further, a suite of numerical experiments with an Ocean General Circulation Model (OGCM) is conducted to investigate the relative importance of wind stress and buoyancy forcing to the TCHP change under global warming. Results show that sea surface warming is the dominant forcing for the TCHP change, while wind stress and sea surface salinity change are secondary.
Impact of the Pacific-Japan Teleconnection Pattern on July Sea Fog over the Northwestern Pacific: Interannual Variations and Global Warming Effect
Jingchao LONG, Suping ZHANG, Yang CHEN, Jingwu LIU, Geng HAN
2016, 33(4): 511-521. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5097-4
The northwestern Pacific (NWP) is a fog-prone area, especially the ocean east of the Kuril Islands. The present study analyzes how the Pacific-Japan (PJ) teleconnection pattern influences July sea fog in the fog-prone area using independent datasets. The covariation between the PJ index and sea fog frequency (SFF) index in July indicates a close correlation, with a coefficient of 0.62 exceeding the 99% confidence level. Composite analysis based on the PJ index, a case study, and model analysis based on GFDL-ESM2M, show that in high PJ index years the convection over the east of the Philippines strengthens and then triggers a Rossby wave, which propagates northward to maintain an anticyclonic anomaly in the midlatitudes, indicating a northeastward shift of the NWP subtropical high. The anticyclonic anomaly facilitates the formation of relatively stable atmospheric stratification or even an inversion layer in the lower level of the troposphere, and strengthens the horizontal southerly moisture transportation from the tropical-subtropical oceans to the fog-prone area. On the other hand, a greater meridional SST gradient over the cold flank of the Kuroshio Extension, due to ocean downwelling, is produced by the anticyclonic wind stress anomaly. Both of these two aspects are favorable for the warm and humid air to cool, condense, and form fog droplets, when air masses cross the SST front. The opposite circumstances occur in low PJ index years, which are not conducive to the formation of sea fog. Finally, a multi-model ensemble mean projection reveals a prominent downward trend of the PJ index after the 2030s, implying a possible decline of the SFF in this period.
Response of North Pacific Eastern Subtropical Mode Water to Greenhouse Gas Versus Aerosol Forcing
Xiang LI, Yiyong LUO
2016, 33(4): 522-532. doi: 10.1007/s00376-015-5092-9
Mode water is a distinct water mass characterized by a near vertical homogeneous layer or low potential vorticity, and is considered essential for understanding ocean climate variability. Based on the output of GFDL CM3, this study investigates the response of eastern subtropical mode water (ESTMW) in the North Pacific to two different single forcings: greenhouse gases (GHGs) and aerosol. Under GHG forcing, ESTMW is produced on lighter isopycnal surfaces and is decreased in volume. Under aerosol forcing, in sharp contrast, it is produced on denser isopycnal surfaces and is increased in volume. The main reason for the opposite response is because surface ocean-to-atmosphere latent heat flux change over the ESTMW formation region shoals the mixed layer and thus weakens the lateral induction under GHG forcing, but deepens the mixed layer and thus strengthens the lateral induction under aerosol forcing. In addition, local wind changes are also favorable to the opposite response of ESTMW production to GHG versus aerosol.
The Fingerprint of Global Warming in the Tropical Pacific
2016, 33(4): 533-534. doi: 10.1007/s00376-016-6014-1