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Amplified Madden–Julian oscillation impacts in the Pacific–North America region

Abstract

The Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a slow-moving tropical mode that produces a planetary-scale envelope of convective storms. By exciting Rossby waves, the MJO creates teleconnections with far-reaching impacts on extratropical circulation and weather. Although recent studies have investigated the response of the MJO to anthropogenic warming, not much is known about potential changes in its teleconnections. Here, we show that the MJO teleconnection pattern in boreal winter will likely extend further eastward over the North Pacific. This is primarily due to an eastward shift in the exit region of the subtropical jet, to which the teleconnection pattern is anchored, and assisted by an eastward extension of the MJO itself. The eastward-extended teleconnection enables the MJO to have a greater impact downstream on the Northeast Pacific and North American west coast. Over California specifically, the multi-model mean projects a 54% increase in MJO-induced precipitation variability by 2100 under a high-emissions scenario.

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Fig. 1: Eastward-extended teleconnection pattern leads to amplified MJO impacts in the PNA region.
Fig. 2: Responses of the MJO teleconnection to changes in MJO heating and large-scale mean state.
Fig. 3: Eastward extension of the MJO itself.
Fig. 4: Eastward shift of the subtropical jet exit.
Fig. 5: Intermodel scatterplots.

Data availability

The AMIP and CMIP outputs used in this study can be obtained from the CMIP5 and CMIP6 archives at https://esgf-node.llnl.gov/projects/esgf-llnl/. The NOAA interpolated outgoing longwave radiation dataset is available at https://psl.noaa.gov/data/gridded/data.interp_OLR.html. The NCEP-DOE reanalysis dataset is publicly available at https://psl.noaa.gov/data/gridded/data.ncep.reanalysis2.html. The ECMWF-ERA5 reanalysis dataset is available at https://www.ecmwf.int/en/forecasts/datasets/reanalysis-datasets/era5.

Code availability

The code for MJO-related analyses and the scripts for preparing MJO heating and mean state (for LBM) are available at https://github.com/wenyuz/MJO_scripts (10.5281/zenodo.3746868). The LBM code can be requested from the following site: https://ccsr.aori.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~lbm/sub/lbm.html.

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Acknowledgements

We thank M. Watanabe and M. Hayashi for providing the LBM. This work was supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funding from Berkeley Lab, provided by the Director, Office of Science, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC02-05CH11231 (to D.Y. and W.Z.); the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, Regional & Global Climate Modeling Program under Award DE-AC02-05CH11231 (to D.Y.); the National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the project CA-D-LAW-2462-RR (to D.Y.); the Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (to D. Y.); the National Science Foundation (AGS 1637450 to S.P.X.) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 41805051 to J.M.).

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W.Z. designed the research, ran the simulations and conducted the analysis. All of the authors contributed to improving the analysis and interpretation. J.M. helped with the setup of the LBM. W.Z. wrote the first draft and all of the authors edited the paper.

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Correspondence to Wenyu Zhou.

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Peer review information: Nature Climate Change thanks Hien Bui, Frederic Vitart and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Table 1 and Figs. 1–19.

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Zhou, W., Yang, D., Xie, SP. et al. Amplified Madden–Julian oscillation impacts in the Pacific–North America region. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 654–660 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0814-0

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