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Causes and predictability of the negative Indian Ocean Dipole and its impact on La Niña during 2016
Lim, E.-P.; Hendon, H.H. (2017). Causes and predictability of the negative Indian Ocean Dipole and its impact on La Niña during 2016. NPG Scientific Reports 7(1): 11 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Lim, E.-P.
  • Hendon, H.H.

    In the latter half of 2016 Indonesia and Australia experienced extreme wet conditions and East Africa suffered devastating drought, which have largely been attributed to the occurrence of strong negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and weak La Niña. Here we examine the causes and predictability of the strong negative IOD and its impact on the development of La Niña in 2016. Analysis on atmosphere and ocean reanalyses and forecast sensitivity experiments using the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s dynamical seasonal forecast system reveals that this strong negative IOD, which peaked in July-September, developed primarily by the Indian Ocean surface and subsurface conditions. The long-term trend over the last 55 years in sea surface and subsurface temperatures, which is characterised by warming of the tropical Indian and western Pacific and cooling in the equatorial eastern Pacific, contributed positively to the extraordinary strength of this IOD. We further show that the strong negative IOD was a key promoter of the weak La Niña of 2016. Without the remote forcing from the IOD, this weak La Niña may have been substantially weaker because of the extraordinarily long-lasting warm surface condition over the dateline from the tail end of strong El Niño of 2015–16.

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