Remote response of the East Asian winter monsoon to tropical forcing related to El Niño-Southern Oscillation

Kumi Sakai, Ryuichi Kawamura

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The mechanism of the East Asian winter monsoon variability in response to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-related tropical forcing is investigated using Japanese long-term reanalysis project data, additionally aided by the Japan Meteorological Agency climate data assimilation system. There are at least two different responses, zonally symmetric and asymmetric, of the Asian jet over South Asia to the ENSO-related tropical convective forcing during the Northern Hemisphere winter. The zonally symmetric response, induced by zonally extended anomalous convection from the Philippine Sea through southern India and Sri Lanka, is pronounced at the mature phase of ENSO. The zonally asymmetric response is intimately associated with anomalous convection localized in the vicinity of the Philippine and South China seas, accompanied by an anomalous Walker circulation cell between the Maritime Continent and tropical Indian Ocean. When this asymmetric response is prominent, ENSO-related anomalous convection can give rise to a change in the East Asian winter monsoon system .through stationary Rossby wave propagation along the South Asian waveguide. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)-related extratropical forcing is also a crucial factor and contributes not only to the downstream development of subpolar teleconnections across northern Eurasia but also to the reinforcement of the zonally asymmetric pattern of the Asian jet over South Asia, resulting in a significant effect on the East Asian winter monsoon circulation. A combination of the ENSO- and NAO-related forcing plays a vital role in triggering the occurrence of extraordinary anomalous monsoon circulations, such as extremely heavy snowfall in the 2005/2006 winter in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)D06105
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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