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

Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, Axel Timmermann, Jing Jia Luo, Takashi Mochizuki, Masahide Kimoto, Masahiro Watanabe, Masayoshi Ishii, Shang Ping Xie, Fei Fei Jin

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68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 modelling 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 Niño Southern Oscillation flavours, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6869
JournalNature communications
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Chikamoto, Y., Timmermann, A., Luo, J. J., Mochizuki, T., Kimoto, M., Watanabe, M., Ishii, M., Xie, S. P., & Jin, F. F. (2015). Skilful multi-year predictions of tropical trans-basin climate variability. Nature communications, 6, [6869]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7869