Sensitivity of the Southern Hemisphere Wintertime Teleconnection to the Location of ENSO Heating

Z. E. Gillett, H. H. Hendon, J. M. Arblaster, H. Lin

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The Southern Hemisphere extratropical atmospheric circulation response to anomalous convection in the tropical western and eastern Pacific Ocean is distinctly different. The response to westward-located heating has a meridional dipole in the South Pacific with large zonal scale and appears unable to be interpreted simply as a stationary Rossby wave train that disperses poleward and eastward from a tropical source like the meridionally arched response to eastward-located heating. This study investigates the cause of this asymmetry by examining the daily evolution of the response to suddenly switching on steady diabatic heating over a western and central/eastern equatorial Pacific location using large-ensemble integrations from the Community Atmosphere Model version 5. We focus on the austral winter months when the subtropical jet supports the development of an effective Rossby wave source in the subtropical westerlies and acts as a waveguide. We show that the subtropical jet strongly influences the height response to the western tropical Pacific heating, promoting prominent zonal circumglobal propagation. Development of a transient eddy feedback in the extratropical storm track after approximately 10 days appears to play a primary role in establishing the time-mean response, which we test through comparison with similar experiments conducted using a simplified linear model. Conversely, the height anomalies for eastern tropical Pacific heating, farther away from the subtropical jet core, have larger meridional propagation, dispersing in a typical Hoskins–Karoly manner into the Southern Hemisphere extratropics, while the transient eddy feedback plays a secondary role for the establishment of the steady response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2497-2514
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2023


  • Eddies
  • El Nino
  • Jets
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Rossby waves
  • Teleconnections

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