Tropical Basin Interaction

About Us

The development of the 1997 event appears influenced by the conditions in the Atlantic during boreal summer. The representation of this interaction and that with the Indian Ocean is thought to be important for predictability in the tropics. Notable are also the same-signed SST anomalies in tropical Pacific and Atlantic during the mature El Niño, which only occurs during a few events. Data: HadISST.

Interaction between the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean basins is increasingly recognized as a key factor in understanding climate variability on interannual to decadal timescales. While it has long been known that El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has far-reaching influences across the globe, it was commonly understood that these influences mostly operated in one direction, from the Pacific to other ocean basins and surrounding continents. More recent results, however, indicate that both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans may in turn influence the tropical Pacific in profound ways (see figure above for one particular example) and that they contain internal patterns of variability that are partly independent of ENSO.

This Research Focus (RF) on Tropical Basin Interaction (TBI) aims to create a consensus on the mechanisms underlying TBI and how these contribute to predictability, and to promote research on how these interactions are affected by low-frequency climate variability and long-term climate change. This will be achieved by using existing numerical simulations and observations, but also by coordinating new climate model experiments and by compiling new paleo proxy data. The RF will arrange workshops, conference sessions, and summer schools, and aims to produce several community papers.


Download: Full Proposal of CLIVAR Research Focus on Tropical Basin Interaction


Terms of Reference

● To promote analysis of existing GCM simulations, coordinate bespoke standard and hindcast pacemaker experiments, and foster analysis of novel monthly resolved coral proxy data.

● To host workshops to stimulate, coordinate, and synthesize research on TBI, and to design appropriate pacemaker experiments.

● To provide a concrete and robust estimate of the prediction skill associated with TBI; in particular, to quantify the tropical Atlantic and Indian Ocean contribution to prediction skill in the tropical Pacific.

● To assess how common model biases affect TBI, and identify the implications for climate predictions and climate change projections.

● To identify factors underlying low-frequency modulation of TBI and how they affect the decadal modulation of ENSO.

● To raise awareness of TBI through dedicated conference sessions.

● To write review papers to consolidate understanding of TBI.

● To host summer schools to get the future generation of researchers involved and strengthen capacity.

● To make output of the coordinated experiments freely available in order to invigorate research activities across the community.

● To deliver input on observational system requirements for monitoring TBI.

● To report annually to CLIVAR on progress of the RF-TBI


Title Institute Role Year Country
Ingo Richter Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Co-Chair Japan
Yuko Okumura University of Texas at Austin Co-Chair USA
Noel Keenlyside Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research Member Norway
Malte Stuecker University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Member USA
Susan Bates The Nature Conservancy Member USA
Ping Chang Texas A&M University Member USA
Fan Jia Institute of Oceanology Member China
Steffen Hetzinger  GEOMAR Helmholtz Ocean Research Centre Member Germany
Fred Kucharski Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics Member Italy
Xichen Li Institute of Atmospheric Physics of Beijing University Member China
Michael Mcphaden NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Member USA
Miriam Pfeiffer University of Kiel Member Germany
Regina Rodrigues Federal University of Santa Catarina Member Brazil
Andrea Taschetto University of New South Wales Member Australia
Hiroki Tokinaga Kyushu University Member Japan
Roxy Mathew Koll Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Member India
Belen Rodriguez-Fonseca Complutense University of Madrid Member Spain
Chunzai Wang South China Sea Institute of Oceanology Member China