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Skilful multi-year predictions of tropical trans-basin climate variability

TitleSkilful multi-year predictions of tropical trans-basin climate variability
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsChikamoto Y., Timmermann A., Luo J.J, Mochizuki T., Kimoto M., Watanabe M., Ishii M., Xie SP, Jin F.F
JournalNature Communications
Date Published2015/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2041-1723
Accession NumberWOS:000353703400036
Keywordsassimilation; atlantic; circulation; data; decadal-scale climate; el-nino; enso; indo-pacific; ocean heat uptake; sea-surface temperature; warming hiatus

Tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies influence the atmospheric circulation, impacting climate far beyond the tropics. The predictability of the corresponding atmospheric signals is typically limited to less than 1 year lead time. Here we present observational and modeling evidence for multi-year predictability of coherent trans-basin climate variations that are characterized by a zonal seesaw in tropical sea surface temperature and sea-level pressure between the Pacific and the other two ocean basins. State-of-the-art climate model forecasts initialized from a realistic ocean state show that the low-frequency trans-basin climate variability, which explains part of the El Nino Southern Oscillation flavors, can be predicted up to 3 years ahead, thus exceeding the predictive skill of current tropical climate forecasts for natural variability. This low-frequency variability emerges from the synchronization of ocean anomalies in all basins via global reorganizations of the atmospheric Walker Circulation.

Short TitleNat. Commun.
Student Publication: