Climate Dynamics

, Volume 43, Issue 3–4, pp 1141–1157 | Cite as

Interannual variability of the South Pacific Ocean in observations and simulated by the NCEP Climate Forecast System, version 2

  • Yuanhong Guan
  • Bohua HuangEmail author
  • Jieshun Zhu
  • Zeng-Zhen Hu
  • James L. KinterIII
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2)


The mechanism of the South Pacific Ocean Dipole (SPOD) mode is examined, using a 50-year simulation of the Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2) and 50-year observation-based ocean–atmosphere analyses (1961–2010). It is shown that the SPOD, a sea surface temperatures (SST) seesaw between the subtropics and extratropics, is the dominant mode of the interannual variability in the South Pacific in both observations and CFSv2 simulation. CFSv2 also reproduces the seasonal phase-locking of the observed SPOD, with the anomaly pattern developing in austral spring, peaking in summer, and decaying in autumn. Composite analyses based on both observational and model data suggest that in the warm phase of SPOD, positive SST anomaly (SSTA) is initiated by weakened westerly winds over the central South Pacific in austral spring, which suppress the surface evaporative heat loss and reduce the oceanic mixed layer depth, both contributing to the SST warming. The wind-SST-mixed layer anomalies then evolve coherently over the next two seasons while the cold SSTA develops to the north. The wind perturbations are in turn a response to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which forces an atmospheric planetary wave train, the Pacific-South American pattern, emanating from an anomalous heat source in the tropical western Pacific. Moreover, SPOD is significantly correlated with the southern annular mode (SAM) while the latter is also significantly correlated with the ENSO index. This suggests that ENSO’s influence on the SPOD may be partially conveyed through SAM.


Southern subtropical Pacific Dipole mode ENSO Air–sea interaction Southern hemisphere atmospheric circulation CFSv2 



YG is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41105057, 41105049, 41275111), and Chinese meteorological industry-specific fund (GYHY201206002). BH, JZ and JK are supported by grants from NSF (ATM-0830068), NOAA (NA09OAR4310058), and NASA (NNX09AN50G). We acknowledge T. DelSole, L. Jia and L. Marx for conducting the CFSv2 long-term free run.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuanhong Guan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bohua Huang
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Jieshun Zhu
    • 2
  • Zeng-Zhen Hu
    • 4
  • James L. KinterIII
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Mathematics and Statistics, Center for Data Assimilation Research and ApplicationNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere StudiesInstitute of Global Environment and SocietyFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, Mail Stop 6C5George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  4. 4.Climate Prediction CenterNational Centers for Environmental Prediction/NOAACollege ParkUSA

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