El Niño–Southern Oscillation–related principal interannual variability modes of early and late summer rainfall over East Asia in sea surface temperature-driven atmospheric general circulation model simulations



[1] A large portion of interannual variability during early summer (May–June mean; hereinafter referred to as MJ) and late summer (July–August mean; hereinafter referred to as JA) rainfall over East Asia is dominated by El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Four ENSO-related modes have been identified by using empirical orthogonal function (EOF) decomposition analysis on East Asian rainfall for the period 1980–1999, with EOF2 for MJ rainfall (hereinafter referred to as MJ-2; similar notations are used for other modes) corresponding to the developing phase of La Niña events, while MJ-3, JA-1, and JA-2 correspond to the decaying phase of El Niño events. The authors investigate the predictability of ENSO-related MJ and JA rainfall modes by analyzing the outputs of 12 atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) of the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project Phase II (AMIP II), which were run in an AGCM stand-alone mode and were forced by the monthly historical sea surface temperature (SST) from 1980 to 1999. The results show that although the climatological differences between MJ and JA rainfall are reasonably reproduced by most AGCMs, the four ENSO-related interannual variability modes of MJ and JA rainfall show different predictabilities. While both atmospheric circulation and precipitation anomalies associated with MJ-3 (the slow El Niño decaying mode) are reasonably reproduced by nearly all the models, the JA-1 (MJ-2) mode is only partly reproduced by about two thirds (half) of the AMIP II models. All models fail to reproduce the JA-2 mode. The relatively low skills in predicting both JA-1 and JA-2 modes are primarily due to the bias of the AMIP models in simulating both the intensity and the position of the western North Pacific anticyclone. The predictability of the JA-1 mode is slightly higher than that of JA-2, and the difference results from the stronger and longer persistence of SST anomaly (SSTA) forcing associated with the decaying ENSO events. The low skill of the MJ-2 prediction is due to the weak SSTA forcing associated with the developing phase of La Niña. The skills of the AMIP II models in predicting the leading interannual variability modes of East Asian summer rainfall do not depend on the horizontal resolutions of the models.