Using observational datasets and numerical model experiments, the mechanism on the slowly varying change in the relationship between the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the East Asian winter monsoon (EAWM) is investigated. The decadal-window (11-, 15-, and 21-year) moving correlations show a significant change in the boreal wintertime ENSO–EAWM relationship between two sub-periods of 1976‒1992 and 1997‒2013. Such recent change in ENSO–EAWM relationship is mainly attributed to the changes in the intensity and zonal location of the anomalous lower-tropospheric northwest Pacific anticyclone (NWP-AC). NWP-AC commonly develops near the region of the Philippine Sea during the ENSO’s peak phase and plays an important role of bridging the tropical convection and mid-latitude teleconnection. On one hand, the intensity of the NWP-AC is influenced by the interdecadal variation in a linkage between ENSO and the Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) variability, referring that a strong connection between the Pacific and Indian Oceans results in the strengthening of NWP-AC response to ENSO. On the other hand, the zonal displacement of the NWP-AC is associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). That is, the tropical Pacific mean state (i.e., zonal SST gradient between climatologically warm western Pacific and cold eastern Pacific)—strengthened by either the negative PDO phase or the positive AMO phase—drives the anomalous ENSO-induced convection to be shifted to the west. With this westward shift, the zonal center of the NWP-AC also migrates westward over the Philippine Islands and exerts stronger connection between ENSO and EAWM. In contrast, the relaxed zonal SST contrast associated with either the positive PDO phase or the negative AMO phase tends to exhibit weaker ENSO–EAWM relationship via both of eastward shifted zonal centers of the anomalous ENSO-induced convection and the NWP-AC. Finally, a series of the numerical experiments conducted by an atmospheric general circulation model supports the observational findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science