Predictions of Indian ocean SST indices with a simple statistical model: A null hypothesis

Dietmar Dommenget, Malten Jansen

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Several recent general circulation model studies discuss the predictability of the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD) mode, suggesting that it is predictable because of coupled ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Indian Ocean. However, it is not clear from these studies how much of the predictability is due to the response to El Ni??o. It is shown in this note that a simple statistical model that treats the Indian Ocean as a red noise process forced by tropical Pacific SST shows forecast skills comparable to those of recent general circulation model studies. The results also indicate that some of the eastern tropical Indian Ocean SST predictability in recent studies may indeed be beyond the skill of the simple model proposed in this note, indicating that dynamics in the Indian Ocean may have caused this improved predictability in this region. The model further indicates that the IOD index may be the least predictable index of Indian Ocean SST variability. The model is proposed as a null hypothesis for Indian Ocean SST predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4930 - 4938
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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