Interannual Variability of Regional Hadley Circulation and El Niño Interaction

Yadi Li, Shang Ping Xie, Tao Lian, Gan Zhang, Juan Feng, Jing Ma, Qihua Peng, Wenzhu Wang, Yurong Hou, Xichen Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) triggers variations of the global Hadley circulation (HC), while the latter may potentially feedback to ENSO events. Previous studies mainly investigated the interactions between ENSO and the global zonal-mean HC. Here, we present a regional perspective of HC variability by introducing zonal variations. Results show that El Niño intensifies the regional HC over the central-eastern Pacific, while weakening the regional HC over both the Indo-Pacific warm pool and the tropical Atlantic. The background seasonal cycle modulates the equatorial-asymmetric component of HC, with an anticlockwise (clockwise) asymmetric circulation over the central equatorial Pacific before (after) El Niño peaks. Remarkably, the asymmetric HC in boreal spring leads ENSO with a lead correlation of up to 0.68, mediated by the wind-evaporation-sea surface temperature (SST) feedback and other atmosphere-ocean dynamics. The antecedent HC anomaly may contribute to ENSO predictability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL102016
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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