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133141 - Indo-Pacific climate interactions in the absence of an Indonesian Throughflow.pdf (2.26 MB)

Indo-Pacific climate interactions in the absence of an Indonesian Throughflow

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 04:16 authored by Jules KajtarJules Kajtar, Santoso, A, England, MH, Cai, W
The Pacific and Indian Oceans are connected by an oceanic passage called the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF). In this setting, modes of climate variability over the two oceanic basins interact. El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events generate sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTAs) over the Indian Ocean that, in turn, influence ENSO evolution. This raises the question as to whether Indo-Pacific feedback interactions would still occur in a climate system without an Indonesian Throughflow. This issue is investigated here for the first time using a coupled climate model with a blocked Indonesian gateway and a series of partially decoupled experiments in which air–sea interactions over each ocean basin are in turn suppressed. Closing the Indonesian Throughflow significantly alters the mean climate state over the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The Pacific Ocean retains an ENSO-like variability, but it is shifted eastward. In contrast, the Indian Ocean dipole and the Indian Ocean basinwide mode both collapse into a single dominant and drastically transformed mode. While the relationship betweenENSO and the altered Indian Ocean mode is weaker than that when the ITF is open, the decoupled experiments reveal a damping effect exerted between the two modes. Despite the weaker Indian Ocean SSTAs and the increased distance between these and the core of ENSO SSTAs, the interbasin interactions remain. This suggests that the atmospheric bridge is a robust element of the Indo-Pacific climate system, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans even in the absence of an Indonesian Throughflow.


Publication title

Journal of Climate








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Amer Meteorological Soc

Place of publication

45 Beacon St, Boston, USA, Ma, 02108-3693

Rights statement

Copyright 2015 American Meteorological Society

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Atmospheric processes and dynamics

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