ENSO Teleconnections and Impacts on U.S. Summertime Temperature during a Multiyear La Niña Life Cycle

Jong, Bor-Ting; Ting, Mingfang; Seager, Richard; Anderson, Weston B.

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) teleconnections have been recognized as possible negative influences on crop yields in the United States during the summer growing season, especially in a developing La Niña summer. This study examines the physical processes of the ENSO summer teleconnections and remote impacts on the United States during a multiyear La Niña life cycle. Since 1950, a developing La Niña summer is either when an El Niño is transitioning to a La Niña or when a La Niña is persisting. Due to the distinct prior ENSO conditions, the oceanic and atmospheric characteristics in the tropics are dissimilar in these two different La Niña summers, leading to different teleconnection patterns. During the transitioning summer, the decaying El Niño and the developing La Niña induce suppressed deep convection over both the subtropical western Pacific (WP) and the tropical central Pacific (CP). Both of these two suppressed convection regions induce Rossby wave propagation extending toward North America, resulting in a statistically significant anomalous anticyclone over northeastern North America and, therefore, a robust warming signal over the Midwest. In contrast, during the persisting summer, only one suppressed convection region is present over the tropical CP induced by the La Niña SST forcing, resulting in a weak and insignificant extratropical teleconnection. Experiments from a stationary wave model confirm that the suppressed convection over the subtropical WP during the transitioning summer not only contributes substantially to the robust warming over the Midwest but also causes the teleconnections to be different from those in the persisting summer.

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Also Published In

Journal of Climate

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
June 2, 2021