2003 Volume 81 Issue 1 Pages 41-56
Using observed sea surface temperature data from 1871-1998, and observed wind data from 1958-1998, it is confirmed that the recently discovered Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is a physical entity. Many IOD events are shown to occur independently of the El Niño. By estimating the contribution from an appropriate El Niño index based on sea surface temperature anomaly in the eastern Pacific, it is shown that the major fraction of the IOD Mode Index is due to the regional processes within the Indian Ocean. Our circulation analysis shows that the Walker circulation during the pure IOD events over the Indian/ Pacific Ocean is distinctly different from that during the El Niño events. Our power spectrum analysis, and wavelet power spectrum analysis show that the periodicities of El Niño and IOD events are different. The results from the wavelet coherence analysis show that, during the periods when strong and frequent IOD events occurred, the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode Index is significantly coherent with the equatorial zonal winds in the central Indian Ocean, suggesting that these events are well coupled. During the periods when there seems to be some relationship between the equatorial zonal winds in the central Indian Ocean and ENSO index, no significant coherence is seen between the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode Index and the equatorial zonal winds in the central Indian Ocean, except after 1995, suggesting that most of the IOD events are not related to ENSO.