The role of the basic state in the ENSO–monsoon relationship and implications for predictability



The impact of systematic model errors on a coupled simulation of the Asian summer monsoon and its interannual variability is studied. Although the mean monsoon climate is reasonably well captured, systematic errors in the equatorial Pacific mean that the monsoon–ENSO teleconnection is rather poorly represented in the general-circulation model. A system of ocean-surface heat flux adjustments is implemented in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans in order to reduce the systematic biases. In this version of the general-circulation model, the monsoon–ENSO teleconnection is better simulated, particularly the lag–lead relationships in which weak monsoons precede the peak of El Niño. In part this is related to changes in the characteristics of El Niño, which has a more realistic evolution in its developing phase. A stronger ENSO amplitude in the new model version also feeds back to further strengthen the teleconnection. These results have important implications for the use of coupled models for seasonal prediction of systems such as the monsoon, and suggest that some form of flux correction may have significant benefits where model systematic error compromises important teleconnections and modes of interannual variability. Copyright © 2005 Royal Meteorological Society