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Dynamical diagnostics of the SST annual cycle in the eastern equatorial Pacific: Part II analysis of CMIP5 simulations

Chen, Ying-Ying, Jin, Fei-Fei
Climate dynamics 2017 v.49 no.11-12 pp. 3923-3936
asymmetry, climate, diagnostic techniques, models, wind
In this study, a simple coupled framework established in Part І is utilized to investigate inter-model diversity in simulating the equatorial Pacific SST annual cycle (SSTAC). It demonstrates that the simulated amplitude and phase characteristics of SSTAC in models are controlled by two internal dynamical factors (the damping rate and phase speed) and two external forcing factors (the strength of the annual and semi-annual harmonic forcing). These four diagnostic factors are further condensed into a dynamical response factor and a forcing factor to derive theoretical solutions of amplitude and phase of SSTAC. The theoretical solutions are in remarkable agreement with observations and CMIP5 simulations. The great diversity in the simulated SSTACs is related to the spreads in these dynamic and forcing factors. Most models tend to simulate a weak SSTAC, due to their weak damping rate and annual harmonic forcing. The latter is due to bias in the meridional asymmetry of the annual mean state of the tropical Pacific, represented by the weak cross-equatorial winds in the cold tongue region.