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The Role of Clouds in Shaping Tropical Pacific Response Pattern to Extratropical Thermal Forcing
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  • Wei-Ting Hsiao,
  • Yen-Ting Hwang,
  • Yong-Jhih Chen,
  • Sarah M. Kang
Wei-Ting Hsiao
Colorado State University
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Yen-Ting Hwang
National Taiwan University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Yong-Jhih Chen
National Taiwan University
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Sarah M. Kang
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology
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Extratropical influences on tropical sea surface temperature (SST) have implications for decadal predictability. We implement a cloud-locking technique to highlight the critical role of clouds in shaping tropical SST response to extratropical thermal forcing. With heating imposed over either extratropical Northern Atlantic or Pacific, Hadley Cells respond similarly that the trades strengthen south of the rainband. The wind-evaporation-SST (WES) feedback leads to cooling over the southern subtropics, which is enhanced in the southeastern Pacific due to the positive feedback between SST and stratiform clouds. This cooling is further extended toward the central Pacific via a WES effect associated with zonally contrasting cloud-radiative-SST feedbacks in the tropics, which is observed in both slab-ocean and dynamical-ocean experiments. We propose that the meridional and zonal SST gradients are tightly linked via WES effects and the cloud-radiative-SST feedbacks, which are largely determined by the climatological rainband position and the spatial distribution of cloud properties.