Now that it is possible to simulate the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) signal explicitly in global atmospheric models, hypotheses about what controls observed relationships between sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the MJO can be explored. In this new accepted paper in JAMES we use idealized simulations with the superparameterized (SP)CAM to explore how the “Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)” SST pattern can disrupt the MJO — a hypothesis based on an observed MJO/IOD relationship. We show SPCAM can capture this MJO disruption but that it does not occur due to local dynamics over the Indian Ocean as one might expect. Rather, the disruption dynamics are concentrated in the Central Pacific and seem to be indirectly associated with an El Nino-IOD relationship. This has implications for understanding the future of the MJO based on the future pattern of SSTs.
(slide summary courtesy of Jim Benedict, the paper’s lead author)