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Title: Culprit of the Eastern Pacific Double-ITCZ Bias in the NCAR CESM1.2

The eastern Pacific double-ITCZ bias has long been attributed to the warm bias of SST in the southeastern Pacific and associated local air–sea interaction. In this study, we conducted two simulations using the NCAR CESM1.2.1 to demonstrate that significant double-ITCZ bias can still form in the eastern Pacific through air–sea coupled feedback even when there is cold SST bias in the southeastern Pacific, indicating that other nonlocal culprits and mechanisms should be responsible for the double-ITCZ bias in the eastern Pacific. Further analyses show that the oversimulated convection in the northern ITCZ region and Central America in boreal winter may result in biases in the surface wind fields in the tropical northeastern Pacific in the atmospheric model, which favor the cooling of the ocean mixed layer through enhancement of latent heat flux and Ekman upwelling. These biases are passed into the ocean model in coupled simulations and result in a severe cold bias of SST in the northern ITCZ region. The overly cold SST bias persists in the subsequent spring, leading to the suppression of convection in the northern ITCZ region. The enhanced low-level cross-equatorial northerly wind strengthens the wind convergence south of the equator and transports abundant water more » vapor to the convergence zone, strengthening the southern ITCZ convection. All these processes lead to the disappearance of the northern ITCZ and the enhancement of the southern ITCZ in boreal spring, forming a seasonally alternating double-ITCZ bias. This study suggests that convection biases in the northern ITCZ region and Central America in boreal winter may be a culprit for the double-ITCZ bias in the eastern Pacific.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 6349-6364
American Meteorological Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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