Variability of the Indian Ocean sea surface temperature and its impacts on Asian-Australian monsoon climate



[1] In this study, the authors investigate the relationships between the Indian Ocean (IO) sea surface temperature (SST) and the Asian-Australian monsoon (AAM) on seasonal to interannual timescales. They focus on the dominant features of IO SST, the impacts of IO SST on different monsoon components, and the relative importance of the northern and southern IO for the AAM. The dominant mode of IO SST is often characterized by uniform warming or cooling, with maximum variance in the Southern Hemisphere. This mode exerts a larger impact on monsoon variability than does the tropical IO dipole. The IO SST is strongly persistent from the boreal fall to the next spring even summer and less persistent from boreal summer to fall, a feature related to seasonal alternation of the dominance of the impacts of Pacific and IO SSTs on the Asian-Australian monsoons. While the tropical central Pacific SST exerts an apparently larger impact on the monsoon climate in the boreal winter and the transitional seasons, the IO SST affects the summer regional climate more strongly. The springtime IO SST leads to opposite changes in the south Asian monsoon (SAM) and the Southeast Asian monsoon (SEAM), reinforcing the out-of-phase relationship that appears often between the two monsoon components. While a warmer IO strengthens the SAM, it weakens the SEAM. Furthermore, the southern IO SST is related to the Asian summer monsoon more closely than the northern IO SST. The boreal fall IO SST, especially that in the north IO, is strongly associated with the subsequent Australian summer monsoon.