We demonstrate the significant impact of the Indian Ocean on the Pacific climate on decadal timescales by comparing two sets of data assimilation experiments (pacemaker experiments) conducted over recent decades. For the Indian Ocean of an atmosphere-ocean coupled global climate model, we assimilate ocean temperature and salinity anomalies defined as deviations from climatology or as anomalies with the area-averaged changes for the Indian Ocean subtracted. When decadal sea surface temperature (SST) trends are observed to be strong over the Indian Ocean, the equatorial thermocline uniformly deepens, and the model simulates the eastward tendencies of surface wind aloft. Surface winds strongly converge around the maritime continent, and the associated strengthening of the Walker circulation suppresses an increasing trend in the equatorial Pacific SST through ocean thermocline shoaling, similar to common changes associated with seasonal Indian Ocean warming.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences