The Role of the South Pacific in Tropical Pacific Climate Variability
Tropical and extratropical Pacific climate variability substantially impact physical systems in the Pacific Ocean on multiple timescales. Recent literature on Pacific climate variability has been mostly North Pacific-centric, leaving questions as to what role the South Pacific may play in Pacific interannual and decadal climate variability. This talk presents evidence that the South Pacific Meridional Mode (SPMM) plays a significant role in tropical Pacific climate variability. We first identify the South Pacific Oscillation (SPO), a meridional dipole of opposing sea level pressure anomalies between the subtropical and extratropical South Pacific. The SPO is the primary atmospheric driver of the SPMM, which is an important modulator for the development of an ENSO event. When considering both the North Pacific Meridional Mode (NPMM) and the SPMM during the preceding boreal winter and spring, skillful predictions of ENSO events may be possible with a ~9 month lead. Impacts of this research on an emerging paradigm of Pacific climate variability and on model evaluations of Pacific climate will be also discussed.
Dr. Furtado is an Assistant Professor in the OU School of Meteorology. He is also an affiliate of the South Central Climate Science Center and OU’s Department of Psychology. He holds a B.S. in Meteorology and a B.S. in Mathematics from Lyndon State College, a M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from The Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on applied large-scale climate dynamics including stratosphere-troposphere coupling, Pacific interannual-to-decadal climate variability, subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) forecasting, and climate change. He performs outreach to high school and undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in science, and shares his scientific knowledge with the public via media.