Freshwater flux and ocean chlorophyll produce nonlinear feedbacks in the tropical Pacific

Various forcing and feedback processes coexist in the tropical Pacific, which can modulate El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In particular, large covariabilities in chlorophyll (Chl) and freshwater flux (FWF) at the sea surface are observed during ENSO cycles, acting to execute feedbacks on ENSO through the related ocean-biology-induced heating (OBH) and FWF forcing, respectively. At present, the related effects and underlying mechanism are strongly model dependent and are still not well understood. Here, a new hybrid coupled model (HCM), developed to represent interactions between the atmosphere and ocean physics-biology (AOPB) in the tropical Pacific, is used to examine the extent to which ENSO can be modulated by interannually covarying anomalies of FWF and Chl. HCM AOPB-based sensitivity experiments indicate that individually the FWF forcing tends to amplify ENSO via its influence on the stratification and vertical mixing in the upper ocean, whereas the OBH feedback tends to damp it. While the FWF- and OBH-related individual effects tend to counteract each other, their combined effects give rise to unexpected situations. For example, an increase in the FWF forcing intensity actually acts to decrease the ENSO amplitude when the OBH feedback effects coexist at a certain intensity. The nonlinear modulation of the ENSO amplitude can happen when the FWF-related amplifying effects on ENSO are compensated for by OBH-related damping effects. The results offer insight into modulating effects on ENSO, which are evident in nature and different climate models.

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Copyright 2019 American Meteorological Society.

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Author Zhang, Rong-Hua
Tian, Feng
Busalacchi, Antonio J.
Wang, Xiujun
Publisher UCAR/NCAR - Library
Publication Date 2019-04-01T00:00:00
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Topic Category geoscientificInformation
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Metadata Date 2023-08-18T19:18:13.778052
Metadata Record Identifier edu.ucar.opensky::articles:22414
Metadata Language eng; USA
Suggested Citation Zhang, Rong-Hua, Tian, Feng, Busalacchi, Antonio J., Wang, Xiujun. (2019). Freshwater flux and ocean chlorophyll produce nonlinear feedbacks in the tropical Pacific. UCAR/NCAR - Library. Accessed 14 July 2024.

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