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Tropical Indo-Pacific SST influences on vegetation variability in eastern Africa

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Title
Tropical Indo-Pacific SST influences on vegetation variability in eastern Africa
Author(s)
In‑Won Kim; Stuecker, Malte F.; Axel Timmermann; Elke Zeller; Kug, Jong-Seong; Park, So-Won; Kim, Jin-Soo
Publication Date
2021-05
Journal
Scientific Reports, v.11, no.1
Publisher
Nature Research
Abstract
© 2021, The Author(s).Mechanisms by which tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures (SST) influence vegetation in eastern Africa have not been fully explored. Here, we use a suite of idealized Earth system model simulations to elucidate the governing processes for eastern African interannual vegetation changes. Our analysis focuses on Tanzania. In the absence of ENSO-induced sea surface temperature anomalies in the Tropical Indian Ocean (TIO), El Niño causes during its peak phase negative precipitation anomalies over Tanzania due to a weakening of the tropical-wide Walker circulation and anomalous descending motion over the Indian Ocean and southeastern Africa. Resulting drought conditions increase the occurrence of wildfires, which leads to a marked decrease in vegetation cover. Subsequent wetter La Niña conditions in boreal winter reverse the phase in vegetation anomalies, causing a gradual 1-year-long recovery phase. The 2-year-long vegetation decline in Tanzania during an ENSO cycle can be explained as a double-integration of the local rainfall anomalies, which originate from the seasonally-modulated ENSO Pacific-SST forcing (Combination mode). In the presence of interannual TIO SST forcing, the southeast African precipitation and vegetation responses to ENSO are muted due to Indian Ocean warming and the resulting anomalous upward motion in the atmosphere.
URI
https://pr.ibs.re.kr/handle/8788114/9940
DOI
10.1038/s41598-021-89824-x
ISSN
2045-2322
Appears in Collections:
Center for Climate Physics(기후물리 연구단) > 1. Journal Papers (저널논문)
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