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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 6 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 2373-2392, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Model evaluation paper 19 Jun 2018

Model evaluation paper | 19 Jun 2018

The seasonal relationship between intraseasonal tropical variability and ENSO in CMIP5

Tatiana Matveeva1, Daria Gushchina1, and Boris Dewitte2,3,4,5 Tatiana Matveeva et al.
  • 1Faculty of Geography, Moscow State University, GSP-1, 119991, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, Russia
  • 2Centro de Estudios Avanzado en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA), La Serena, Chile
  • 3Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile
  • 4Millennium Nucleus for Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI), Coquimbo, Chile
  • 5Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales, Toulouse, France

Abstract. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is tightly linked to the intraseasonal tropical variability (ITV) that contributes to energise the deterministic ocean dynamics during the development of El Niño. Here, the relationship between ITV and ENSO is assessed based on models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) phase 5 (CMIP5) taking into account the so-called diversity of ENSO, that is, the existence of two types of events (central Pacific versus eastern Pacific El Niño). As a first step, the models' skill in simulating ENSO diversity is assessed. The characteristics of the ITV are then documented revealing a large dispersion within an ensemble of 16 models. A total of 11 models exhibit some skill in simulating the key aspects of the ITV for ENSO: the total variance along the Equator, the seasonal cycle and the characteristics of the propagation along the Equator of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) and the convectively coupled equatorial Rossby (ER) waves. Five models that account realistically for both the two types of El Niño events and ITV characteristics are used for the further analysis of seasonal ITVENSO relationship. The results indicate a large dispersion among the models and an overall limited skill in accounting for the observed seasonal ITVENSO relationship. Implications of our results are discussed in light of recent studies on the forcing mechanism of ENSO diversity.

Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Predicting El Niño both in current condition and for the next century is a key societal need. Intraseasonal atmosphere variability (ITV) plays an important role in triggering of El Niño; the El Niño/ITV relationship may change in future climate. The purpose of this study is to select the models that are most skilful in simulation of the ITV/El Niño relationship and thus promising for investigation of the El Niño mechanism under global climate change. Five models of CMIP5 project were selected.
Predicting El Niño both in current condition and for the next century is a key societal need....