Recent climate extremes associated with the West Pacific Warming Mode

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Abstract

Here we analyze empirical orthogonal functions (EOFs) of observations and a 30 member ensemble of Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1) simulations, and suggest that precipitation declines in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) and the northern Middle East/Southwestern Asia (NME/SWE: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia north of 25°N, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon) may be interpreted as an interaction between La Niña-like decadal variability and the West Pacific Warming Mode (WPWM). While they exhibit different SST patterns, warming of the Pacific cold tongue (ENSO) and warming of the western Pacific (WPWM) produce similar warm pool diabatic forcing, Walker circulation anomalies, and terrestrial teleconnections. CESM1 SST EOFs indicate that both La Niña-like WPWM warming and El Niño-like east Pacific warming will be produced by climate change. The temporal frequency of these changes, however, are distinct. WPWM varies decadally, while ENSO is dominated by interannual variability. Future WPWM and ENSO warming may manifest as a tendency toward warm West Pacific SST, punctuated by extreme warm East Pacific events. WPWM EOFs from Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) precipitation also identify dramatic WPWM-related declines in the Greater Horn of Africa and NME/SWE.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Recent climate extremes associated with the West Pacific Warming Mode
ISBN 978-1-119-06784-9
DOI 10.1002/9781119068020.ch10
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Climate extremes: Patterns and mechanisms
First page 165
Last page 176