A Review of Three-Ocean Interactions and Climate Variability

Chunzai Wang, State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, SCSIO, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China
Interactions among the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans through ocean-atmosphere coupling can initiate and/or modulate climate variability. The Pacific Ocean is home to ENSO which affects other oceans through atmospheric bridges and the oceanic Indonesian throughflow (ITF). A warm Indian Ocean can produce atmospheric Kelvin waves that propagate eastward and increase equatorial easterly wind anomalies in the western Pacific and thus cool eastern Pacific sea surface temperature (SST). A positive Indian Ocean dipole establishes a southwestward pressure gradient force in the ITF region which increases the ITF transport and decreases ocean heat content in the western Pacific and may cool eastern Pacific SST. The Indian Ocean can also influence the Atlantic by atmospheric bridge and the oceanic Agulhas leakage south of Africa. Midlatitude North Atlantic SSTs may affect Pacific climate variability: (i) The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) influences North Pacific variability; (ii) The warm AMO phase increases the occurrence of central Pacific (CP)-type El Niño; (iii) The warm AMO phase helps induce anomalous cyclonic circulation in the tropical western North Pacific; and (iv) A cold midlatitude North Atlantic Ocean in the summer may initiate an El Niño in subsequent year via the East Atlantic/West Russia teleconnection. A warm tropical North Atlantic in the spring can induce a CP-type La Niña in the subsequent winter, via two pathways of the tropical eastern North and South Pacific. Finally, the Atlantic Niño (Niña) in the summer, through the Walker circulation and ocean dynamics, helps induce an eastern Pacific-type La Niña (El Niño) in the subsequent winter. The Atlantic Niño can also warm the tropical western Indian Ocean and weaken Indian monsoon rainfall.