A key process of the nonstationary relationship between ENSO and the Western Pacific teleconnection pattern

Young Hyang Park, Baek Min Kim, Gyundo Pak, Masaru Yamamoto, Frédéric Vivier, Isabelle Durand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have discovered an intriguing nonstationary relationship between El Ninõ-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Western Pacific (WP) teleconnection pattern, one of the most prominent winter atmospheric circulation patterns in the North Pacific, with a regime-dependent interdecadal modulation of significant and insignificant correlations. However, the physical process underlying the observed nonstationary ENSO-WP relationship is a puzzle and remains to be elucidated, which is also essential for clarifying the still-debated nontrivial issue on whether the WP is directly forced by ENSO or by midlatitude storm tracks-driven intrinsic processes. Based on empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of the upper-tropospheric teleconnection patterns and associated Rossby wave sources (RWS), we show that the nonstationarity in question is due to the regime-dependent constructive or destructive interference in meridional overturning circulation between the two leading EOFs of RWS best correlated with ENSO and WP, respectively. The observed insignificant correlation between ENSO and the WP after the 1988 regime shift can be explained by interrupted teleconnection between the tropics and high latitudes due to the collapse of the subtropical bridge pillar in the jet entrance region, consequence of the destructive interference. This suggested interference mechanism related to the regime-dependent upper-level RWS fields has significant implications for resolving the puzzle that hinders better understanding of decadal regime behaviors of the climate system in the North Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9512
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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