Can Indian Ocean SST anomalies influence South American rainfall?

Taschetto, Andréa; Ambrizzi, Tércio
April 2012
Climate Dynamics;Apr2012, Vol. 38 Issue 7/8, p1615
Academic Journal
In this study we examine the impact of Indian Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) variability on South American circulation using observations and a suite of numerical experiments forced by a combination of Indian and Pacific SST anomalies. Previous studies have shown that the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) mode can affect climate over remote regions across the globe, including over South America. Here we show that such a link exists not only with the IOD, but also with the Indian Ocean basin-wide warming (IOBW). The IOBW, a response to El Niño events, tends to reinforce the South American anomalous circulation in March-to-May associated with the warm events in the Pacific. This leads to increased rainfall in the La Plata basin and decreased rainfall over the northern regions of the continent. In addition, the IOBW is suggested to be an important factor for modulating the persistence of dry conditions over northeastern South America during austral autumn. The link between the IOBW and South American climate occurs via alterations of the Walker circulation pattern and through a mid-latitude wave-train teleconnection.


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