The failure of atmospheric general circulation models (AGCMs) forced by prescribed SST to simulate and predict the interannual variability of Indian/Asian monsoon has been widely attributed to their inability to reproduce the actual sea surface temperature (SST)–rainfall relationship in the warm Indo-Pacific oceans. This assessment is based on a comparison of the observed and simulated correlation between the rainfall and local SST. However, the observed SSTconvection/rainfall relationship is nonlinear and for this a linear measure such as the correlation is not an appropriate measure. We show that the SST–rainfall relationship simulated by atmospheric and coupled general circulation models in IPCC AR4 is nonlinear, as observed, and realistic over the tropical West Pacific (WPO) and the Indian Ocean (IO). The SST–rainfall pattern simulated by the coupled versions of these models is rather similar to that from the corresponding atmospheric one, except for a shift of the entire pattern to colder/warmer SSTs when there is a cold/warm bias in the coupled version.
Volume 129, 2020
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