Recent and future changes in the Asian monsoon-ENSO relationship: Natural or forced?

Li, Xiaoqiong; Ting, Mingfang

The Asian monsoon-ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) relationship in the 20th and 21st centuries is examined using observations and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) model simulations. CMIP5 models can simulate the ENSO-monsoon spatial structure reasonably well when using the multimodel mean. Running correlations show prominent decadal variability of the ENSO-monsoon relationship in observations. The modeled ENSO-monsoon relation shows large intermodel spread, indicating large variations across the model ensemble. The anthropogenically forced component of ENSO-monsoon relationship is separated from the naturally varying component based on a signal-to-noise maximizing empirical orthogonal function analysis using global sea surface temperature (SST). Results show that natural variability plays a dominant role in the varied ENSO-monsoon relationship during the 20th century. In the 21st century, the forced component is dominated by enhanced monsoon rainfall associated with SST warming, which may contribute to a slightly weakened ENSO-monsoon relation in the future.


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Geophysical Research Letters

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory contribution number 7891.