Sea surface temperature (SST) predictability in the Pacific on decadal timescales is examined in hindcast experiments using the coupled atmosphere-ocean model MIROC with low, medium, and high resolutions. In these hindcast experiments, initial conditions are obtained from an anomaly assimilation procedure using the observed oceanic temperature and salinity while prescribing natural and anthropogenic forcing based on the IPCC concentration scenarios. Our hindcast experiments show the predictability of SST in the western subtropical Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the tropics to the North Atlantic. Previous studies have examined the SST predictability in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic, but SST predictability in the western subtropical Pacific has not been evaluated. In the western Pacific, the observed SST anomalies in the subtropics of both hemispheres increased rapidly from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. While this SST warming in the western subtropical Pacific is partly explained by global warming signals, the predictions of our model initialized in 1995 or 1996 tend to simulate the pattern of the SST increase and the associated precipitation changes. This large climate change around the late 1990s may be related to phenomena such as the recent increase in the typhoon frequency in Taiwan and the weakened East Asian monsoon reported by recent studies.
2012 by Meteorological Society of Japan