IAOS published paper on Science
Release date: 2019-05-12

      On March 1, a review article titled Pantropical climate interactions waspublished on Science online, the top international academic journal. This achievement was obtained by Prof. Cai Wenju (first author) of the Key Laboratory of Physical Oceanography. Moe. China, OUC (hereinafter referred to as the laboratory) and Academician Wu Lixin (corresponding author), director of the laboratory, together with many internationally renowned physical oceanographers and climatologists as well as young scholars.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is originated in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is the strongest interannual variation event of the earth's climate system, exerting great impacts on global climate, water cycle, biogeochemical cycle and ecosystems. Previous research has fully confirmed that ENSO can significantly affect the regional climate systems of the tropical Atlantic and Indian oceans through atmospheric teleconnection processes; in turn, how ocean-atmosphere interactions and dynamic process changes within the tropical Atlantic and Indian oceans influence ENSO and the regional climate in the tropical Pacific are highly controversial and are frontier hotspots in the research on tropical ocean and climate. This review article comprehensively reviews and summarizes the recent development of research on the interactions among the tropical Pacific-Indian-Atlantic climate systems for the first time.

 The article points out that the climate change in the tropical Pacific is mainly determined by the rapid SST-wind field positive feedback process and the delayed wind field-ocean thermocline-sea temperature negative feedback process. SST variations in the tropical Indian and Atlantic oceans can modulate the above feedback process by causing anomalies in the Pacific wind field and thereby affecting the Pacific Ocean (Figure 1). For example, changes in the tropical Indian Ocean can accelerate the demise of El Niño and contribute to the transformation of El Niño into La Nina; the STT changes in the tropical Atlantic equatorial and northern seas have significant contributions to the diversity of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation event (The spatial pattern of events, the magnitude of change, and the evolution process are different) (Figure 2). In addition, the interdecadal variations of the tropical Atlantic SST can significantly affect the changes in the trade wind system throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean and are considered to be a key factor in the global warming slowdown in 1998-2014. Based on systemic summary of the existing researches, the article extracts the key scientific problems and challenges of future research, and points out that deeper understanding of the dynamic mechanism of tropical trans-sea basin interaction is an important way to improve the seasonal to interdecadal climate prediction ability. It will also help to improve the accuracy of future climate change projections.

This achievement has been completed after many academic exchanges and discussions at home and abroad, providing new directions and new ideas for tropical sea-air interaction and climate change research. This is also the first review article published in Science after the publication of a review article, Pacific western boundary currents and their roles in climate, by Marine Dynamic Process and Climate Research Team in key laboratory of the Ministry of Physical and Oceanic Education In 2016. In the past five years, the team has made a series of major original innovations in the small-scale ocean process and its interaction with the atmosphere, the impact of global warming on tropical sea-atmosphere coupling events, and the global warming mitigation mechanism. The team has published 21 high-level papers (with a list of articles) in Nature , Science andtheirSub-issues, highlighting the international frontier status of laboratories and Ocean University of China in the fields of ocean and climate dynamics and global climate change.

Figure 1: Air-sea feedback process between the tropical Pacific-Indian Ocean-Atlantic (SST indicates sea surface temperature)

Figure 2: Air-sea interaction between the tropical Pacific-Indian Ocean-Atlantic Ocean during the evolution of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation event

Former published papers:

1. CAI W.-J., A. Santoso, G.-J. Wang, E. Weller, L.-X. Wu, K. Ashok, Y. Masumoto, and T. Yamagata, 2014: Increased frequency of extreme Indian Ocean Dipole events due to greenhouse warming. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature13327.

2. CAI W.-J., G. Wang, A. Santoso, M. McPhaden, L.-X. Wu, F.-F. Jin, A. Timmermann, M. Collins, G. Vecchi, M. Lengaigne, M. England, D. Dommenget, K. Takahashi, and E. Guilyardi, 2014: Increased frequency of extreme La Niña events under greenhouse warming. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate2492.

3. WANG C.-Z., L.-P. Zhang, S.-K. Lee, L.-X. Wu, and C. R. Mechoso, 2014: A global perspective on CMIP5 climate model biases. Nature Climate Change, 4: 201-205.

4. CHEN X.-Y., and K.-K. Tung, 2014: Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration. Science, 345: 897-903.

5. ZHANG Z.-G., W. Wang, and B. Qiu, 2014: Oceanic mass transport by mesoscale eddies. Science, 345: 322-324.

6. Hu D., L.-X. Wu, W.-J. Cai and coauthors, 2015: Pacific western boundary currents and their roles in climate. Nature, 522, 299-308.

7. CAI W.-J., A. Santoso, G.-J. Wang, S. Yeh, S. An, K. Cobb, M. Collins, E. Guilyardi, F. Jin, J. Kug, M. Lengaigne, M. J. McPhaden, K Takahashi, A. Timmermann, G. Vecchi, M. Watanabe, and L.-X. Wu, 2015: ENSO and greenhouse warming. Nature Climate Change, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2743.

8. CAI W.-J., S. K. Avery, M. Leinen, K. Lee, X.-P. Lin, and M. Visbeck, 2015: Institutional coordination of global ocean observations. Nature Climate Change, 5: 4-6.

9. XU L.-X., P.-L. Li, S.-P Xie, Q.-Y. Liu, C. Liu, and W.-D. Gao, 2016: Observing mesoscale eddy effects on mode water subduction and transport in the North Pacific. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10505.

10. MA X.-H., Z. Jing, P. Chang, X. Liu, R. Montuoro, R. J. Small, F. O. Bryan, R. J. Greatbatch, P. Brandt, D.-X. Wu, X.-P. Lin, and L.-X. Wu, 2016: Western boundary currents regulated by interaction between ocean eddies and the atmosphere. Nature, doi:10.1038/nature 18640.

11. CHEN X.-Y., and K.-K. Tung, 2016: Variations in ocean heat uptake during the surface warming hiatus. Nature Communications, 7, 1254, doi:10.1038/ncomms12541.

12. CAI W.-J., K. Li, H. Liao, H.-J. Wang, and L.-X. Wu, 2017: Weather conditions conducive to Beijing severe haze more frequent under climate change. Nature Climate Change, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3249.

13. CHEN X.-Y., X.-B. Zhang, J.-A. Church, C.-S. Watson, M.-A. King, D. Monselesan, B. Legresy, and C. Harig, 2017: The Increasing Rate of Global Mean Sea-level Rise during 1993-2014. Nature Climate Change, 7:492-495.

14. WANG G.-J., W.-J. Cai, B.-L. Gan, L.-X. Wu, A. Santoso, X.-P. Lin, Z.-H. Chen, and M. McPhaden, 2017: Continued Increase of Extreme El Niño Frequency Long after 1.5˚C Warming Stabilization. Nature Climate Change, 7:568–572, doi:10.1038/nclimate3351.

15. ZHAO J., A. Bower, J.-Y. Yang, and X.-P. Lin, 2018: Meridional heat transport variability induced by mesoscale processes in the subpolar North Atlantic. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03134-x.

16. CAI W.-J., G.-J. Wang, B.-L. Gan, L.-X. Wu, A. Santoso, X.-P. Lin, Z.-H. Chen, F. Jia, and T. Yamagata, 2018: Stabilised frequency of extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole under 1.5 °C warming. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03789-6.

17. CHEN X.-Y., and K.-K. Tung, 2018: Global surface warming enhanced by weak Atlantic overturning circulation. Nature, 559: 387-400.

18. ZHANG Z,-W., B Qiu, J.-W. Tian, W. Zhao, and X.-D. Huang, 2018: Latitude-dependent finescale turbulent shear generations in the Pacific tropical-extratropical upper ocean. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06260-8.

19. CAI W.-J., G.-J. Wang, B. Dewitte, L.-X. Wu, A. Santoso, K. Takahash, Y. Yang, A. Carreric, and M. J. McPhaden, 2018: Increased variability of Eastern Pacific El Niño under greenhouse warming. Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0776-9.

20. CAI W.-J., L.-X. Wu, M. Lengaigne, T. Li, S. McGregor, J.-S. Kug, J.-Y Yu, M. F. Stuecker, A. Santoso, X. Li, Y.-G. Ham, Y. Chikamoto, B. Ng, M. J. McPhaden, Y. Du, D. Dommenget, F. Jia, J. B. Kajtar, N. Keenlyside, X.-P. Lin, J.-J. Luo, M. Martín-Rey, Y. Ruprich-Robert, G.-J. Wang, S.-P. Xie, Y. Yang, S.M. Kang, J.-Y. Choi, B.-L. Gan, G.-Il Kim, C.-E. Kim, S. Kim, J.-H. Kim, P. Chang, 2019: Pantropical climate interactions. Science, 363, doi: 10.1126/science.aav4236.

21. M.S. Lozier, F. Li, S. Bacon, F. Bahr, A. S. Bower, S. A. Cunningham, M. F. de Jong, L. de Steur, B. DeYoung, J. Fischer, S. F. Gary, N. Greenan, N. P. Holliday, A. Houk, L. Houpert, M. E. Inall, W. E. Johns, H. L. Johnson, C. Johnson, J. Karstensen, G. Koman, I. A. Le Bras, X.-P. Lin, N. Mackay, D.P. Marshall, H. Mercier, M. Oltmanns, R. S. Pickart, A. L. Ramsey, D. Rayner, F. Straneo, V. Thierry, D. J. Torres, R. G. Williams, C. Wilson, J. Yang, I. Yashayaev and J. Zhao, 2019: A Sea Change in Our View of Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic. Science, 363, 516-521, doi: 10.1126/science.aau6592.