Chinese Science Bulletin, Volume 64, Issue 1: 73-78(2019) https://doi.org/10.1360/N972018-00913

Outlook for El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole in autumn-winter 2018–2019

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  • ReceivedSep 2, 2018
  • AcceptedNov 6, 2018
  • PublishedDec 4, 2018


El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) in the equatorial Indian Ocean are two major natural variabilities on seasonal and inter-annual timescales. In this study, the Flexible Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System Model, finite volume version 2 (FGOALS-f2), sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) climate prediction system, was used to make a seasonal prediction for autumn and winter 2018–2019. The FGOALS-f2 S2S prediction system was developed at the State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG), Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and is run on China's Tianhe-2 supercomputer located at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou, China. The model used in the prediction system is CAS FGOALS-f2, which is a next-generation climate system model of LASG-IAP, representing the interaction between the atmosphere, oceans, land, and sea ice. The seasonal prediction products from this system have been submitted to and used operationally by the National Climate Center of the China Meteorological Administration, as well as the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center of China, since June 2017. The FGOALS-f2 S2S prediction system has achieved 37 a retrospective forecasts (reforecasts) covering the period 1981–2017. The reforecast experiments include 24 ensemble members, while the real-time prediction uses 35 ensemble members. The latest prediction results, in July 2018, reveal that: (1) A positive IOD will persist through autumn and winter 2018–2019, and the peak phase will be in October with an amplitude of approximately 0.4°C. Based on the 37 a reforecasts predicted from each July 20th, the one-month-lead prediction skill of the IOD is 0.82 in the IOD prediction of July, and the five-month-lead prediction skill is 0.56. (2) In the equatorial Pacific Ocean, the prediction results reveal a Moderate El Niño is under development, and Niño3.4 index values may reach approximately 1.3°C. Based on the 37 a reforecasts predicted from each July 20th, the one-month lead prediction skill of the Niño3.4 index is 0.97 in the ENSO prediction of July, and the six-month lead prediction skill is 0.83. (3) The Moderate El Niño and positive IOD may induce a weak China winter monsoon, characterized by a warm winter. For North China, the meteorological conditions are expected to have adverse effects on atmospheric diffusion; while for South China, warm and wet conditions are likely to prevail, since the lower-level jet of the Indian Ocean is predicted to strengthen.

To better predict the equatorial sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern Pacific and Indian oceans, the FGOALS-f2 S2S climate prediction team will continue to update the prediction results on the 20th of every month, releasing them (with respect to ENSO, the IOD, climate, and average monthly weather in China) on the website, and report the latest prediction results via the WeChat public platform.

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  • Figure 1

    The outlook of Niño3.4 index in autumn and winter (from November 2018 to January 2019) by FGOALS-f2 climate prediction system. The black fine line is the Niño3.4 index calculated by observed SST. The red dotted line is the Niño3.4 index predicted by FGOALS-f2 seasonal prediction system with 35 ensemble members and the black thick solid line is their averaged result. The blue dotted line is the connection line between observation and prediction. Units: °C

  • Figure 2

    Prediction of spatial distribution of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in autumn and winter (from November 2018 to January 2019) by FGOALS-f2 prediction system. Units: °C

  • Figure 3

    Outlooks of spatial distribution of Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) in autumn and winter (from November 2018 to January 2019) by FGOALS-f2 climate prediction system. Units: °C

  • Figure 4

    Prediction of spatial distribution of surface (2 m) air temperature anomalies (a) and U-V wind anomalies at 850 hPa in autumn and winter (b) (from November 2018 to January 2019) by FGOALS-f2 climate prediction system

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