Inverse relationship between the equatorial eastern Pacific annual-cycle and ENSO amplitudes in a coupled general circulation model

Soon Il An, Jung Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a dynamical interpretation of the inverse relationship between the tropical eastern Pacific annual-cycle (AC) amplitude and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) amplitude, based on a pre-industrial simulation of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Couple climate model 2. 0 with a fixed concentration of greenhouse gases spanning approximately 500 years. The slowly varying background conditions over more than a decade alternately provided favorable conditions for two opposite regimes, namely the 'strong AC-weak ENSO regime' and the 'weak AC-strong ENSO regime'. For the weak AC-strong ENSO regime, the tropical eastern Pacific shows meridional-asymmetric surface warming with an emphasis on the southern part, leading to weakening of both the zonal trade wind and the cross equatorial southerly wind, as well as deepening of both the thermocline and mixed layer. The deeper mixed layer, weaker southerly wind, and reduced zonal gradient of the mean sea surface temperature due to tropical eastern Pacific warming all acts to reduce the AC. Conversely, the ENSO was intensified by the deeper mixed layer and deeper thermocline depth (thermocline feedback), but suppressed by the deeper thermocline depth (Ekman feedback) and the reduced zonal temperature gradient. We also computed the coupling strengths of the ENSO and AC, defined as the linear regression coefficients of the zonal and meridional wind stresses against the eastern Pacific SST, respectively. The coupling strengths of both the AC and ENSO are larger when they are intensified, and vice versa. All processes for the weak AC-strong ENSO regime operate in the opposite manner for the strong AC-weak ENSO regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-675
Number of pages13
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the modeling groups for providing their data for analysis, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) for collecting and archiving the model output, and the JSC/CLIVAR Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM) for organizing the model data analysis activity. Authors thank F.-F. Jin and A. Timmermann for their valuable comment. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. 2011-0015208).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Inverse relationship between the equatorial eastern Pacific annual-cycle and ENSO amplitudes in a coupled general circulation model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this