Combined Effects of El Niño and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on Summertime Circulation over East Asia

  • Sang-Heon Lee
  • Kyong-Hwan SeoEmail author
  • Minho Kwon
Original Article


The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) are the two major modes of sea surface temperature (SST) variability over equatorial and North Pacific regions, respectively. In this study, the combined effects of the ENSO and PDO on summertime circulation and precipitation fields over East Asia are investigated. Results show that SST forcing associated with a positive ENSO phase intensifies the anticyclonic circulation anomaly over the western North Pacific (WNP) region through a meridionally propagating Rossby wave train or via downward motion due to an overturning circulation stemming from equatorial central Pacific warming. A strong negative SST anomaly over the North Pacific during positive PDO phases increases local meridional temperature gradient and thus induces anomalous westerly winds along 35°N. This wind anomaly forms the northern margin of the anticyclonic circulation anomaly over the WNP. The combined effect of positive ENSO and positive PDO phases strengthens the anticyclonic circulation anomaly more than when these forcings are considered separately. Therefore, to the north of the anomaly, precipitation is enhanced due to the increased moisture flux transport and convergence along the rim of the WNP subtropical high.


El Niño The Pacific decadal oscillation Western North Pacific subtropical high East Asia precipitation Combined effect 



This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) (No. NRF-2018R1A2A2A05018426) and the KMA Research and Development Program under Grant KMI 2018–01012. We would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.


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© Korean Meteorological Society and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Division of Earth Environmental SystemPusan National UniversityBusanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Korea Institute of Ocean Science & TechnologyBusanSouth Korea

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