Intermodel spread around the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension region in coupled GCMs caused by meridional variation of the westerly jet from atmospheric GCMs

TitleIntermodel spread around the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension region in coupled GCMs caused by meridional variation of the westerly jet from atmospheric GCMs
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsZhou W.Y, Xie SP
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume30
Pagination4589-4599
Date Published2017/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0894-8755
Accession NumberWOS:000402379600015
Keywordscirculation; climate models; el-nino; latitude; north pacific; ocean; simulation; summer; thermocline; variability
Abstract

The Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE) is a region of energetic oceanic mesoscale eddies and vigorous air-sea interaction that can influence climate variability over the northwest Pacific and East Asia. General circulation models (GCMs) exhibit considerable differences in their simulated climatology around the KOE region. Specifically, there are substantial intermodel spreads in both sea surface temperature (SST) and the upper-level westerly jet. In this study, the cause for such large spreads is studied by analyzing 21 pairs of coupled and atmospheric GCMs from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). It is found that the intermodel spread of the climatological westerly jet among coupled GCMs is largely inherited from their atmospheric models rather than being due to their SST difference as previously thought. An anomalous equatorward shift in the simulated westerly jet can give rise to a cold SST bias around the KOE region as follows. The equatorward jet shift induces cyclonic surface wind anomalies over the North Pacific, which not only enhance the turbulent heat fluxes out of the ocean south of the KOE but also drive an anomalous cyclonic ocean circulation that brings colder (warmer) water into the north (south) of the KOE. The KOE region is consequently cooled due to both the atmospheric and oceanic effects. Such processes are demonstrated through idealized perturbation experiments using an ocean model. The results herein point to reducing atmospheric model errors in the westerly jet as the way forward to improve the coupled simulations around the KOE region.

DOI10.1175/jcli-d-16-0831.1
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