Predictability of the western North Pacific summer climate associated with different ENSO phases by ENSEMBLES multi-model seasonal forecasts
Predictability of the western North Pacific (WNP) summer climate associated with different El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases is investigated in this study based on the 1-month lead retrospective forecasts of five state-of-the-art coupled models from ENSEMBLES. During the period from 1960 to 2005, the models well capture the WNP summer climate anomalies during most of years in different ENSO phases except the La Niña decaying summers. In the El Niño developing, El Niño decaying and La Niña developing summers, the prediction skills are high for the WNP summer monsoon index (WNPMI), with the prediction correlation larger than 0.7. The high prediction skills of the lower-tropospheric circulation during these phases are found mainly over the tropical western Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and subtropical WNP. These good predictions correspond well to their close teleconnection with ENSO and the high prediction skills of tropical SSTs. By contrast, for the La Niña decaying summers, the prediction skills are considerably low with the prediction correlation for the WNPMI near to zero and low prediction skills around the Philippines and subtropical WNP. These poor predictions relate to the weak summer anomalies of the WNPMI during the La Niña decaying years and no significant connections between the WNP lower-tropospheric circulation anomalies and the SSTs over the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean in observations. However, the models tend to predict an apparent anomalous cyclone over the WNP during the La Niña decaying years, indicating a linearity of the circulation response over WNP in the models prediction in comparison with that during the El Niño decaying years which differs from observations. In addition, the models show considerable capability in describing the WNP summer anomalies during the ENSO neutral summers. These anomalies are related to the positive feedback between the WNP lower-tropospheric circulation and the local SSTs. The models can capture this positive feedback but with some uncertainties from different ensemble members during the ENSO neutral summers.