Interannual seesaw between the somali and the Australian cross-equatorial flows and its connection to the East Asian summer monsoon

Chen Li, Shuanglin Li

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The correlations among the summer, low-level, cross-equatorial flows (CEFs) over the Indian-west Pacific Ocean region on the interannual time scale are investigated by using both the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis and 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) datasets. A significant negative correlation (seesaw) has been illustrated between the Somali CEF and the three CEFs north of Australia (the South China Sea, Celebes Sea, and New Guinea; they are referred to in combination as the Australian CEF).A seesaw index is thus defined with a higher (lower) value representing an intensified (weakened) Somali CEF but a weakened (intensified) Australian CEF. The connection of the seesaw with the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) is then investigated. The results suggest that an enhanced seesaw corresponds to an intensified EASM with more rainfall in north China, the Yellow River valley, and the upper reach of the Yangtze River. The seesaw reflects the opposite covariability between the two atmospheric action centers in the Southern Hemisphere, Mascarene subtropical high, and Australian subtropical high. Whether the seesaw-EASM connection is influenced by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or the Indian Ocean SST dipole mode (IOD) is analyzed. The results remain unchanged when the ENSO- or IOD-related signals are excluded, although ENSO exerts a significant influence. This implies an additional predictability for the EASM from the CEF seesaw.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3966-3981
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

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