Roles of the Indo-Pacific subsurface Kelvin waves and volume transport in prolonging the triple-dip 2020-2023 La Niña.

Li, Mingting; Cao, Ziyang; Gordon, Arnold L.; Zheng, Fei; Wang, Dongxiao

The rare triple-dip 2020–2023 La Niña event has resulted in a series of extreme climate events across the globe. Here, we reveal the role of tropical Indo-Pacific oceanic interactions in driving the first triple-dip La Niña of the twenty-first century. Specifically, we found that the eastern Indian Ocean subsurface warming anomalies were associated with the re-intensification of the subsequent La Niña event. The subsurface warming anomaly signals were propagated eastward by equatorial and coastal subsurface Kelvin waves from the eastern Indian Ocean to the western Pacific Ocean through the Indo-Pacific oceanic pathway, which contributes to the accumulation of heat content and deepens the thermocline in the western tropical Pacific. The westward Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) transported more heat during multi-year La Niña events from the western Pacific Ocean to the eastern Indian Ocean than during single-year events, resulting in the injection of more warm water into the eastern Indian Ocean. The combination of subsurface Kelvin wave propagation and increased ITF volume transport in the Indo-Pacific region acted to prolong the heat content in the western Pacific during the decay phase of La Niña, ultimately leading to the rare triple-dip 2020–2023 La Niña event.


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Also Published In

Environmental Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
October 16, 2023