Impact of large-scale ocean–atmosphere interactions on interannual water storage changes in the tropics and subtropics

Shengnan Ni, Zhicai Luo, Jianli Chen, Jin Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Satellite observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) provide unique measurements of global terrestrial water storage (TWS) changes at different spatial and temporal scales. Large-scale ocean–atmosphere interactions might have significant impacts on the global hydrological cycle, resulting in considerable influences on TWS changes. Quantifying the contributions of large-scale ocean–atmosphere interactions to TWS changes would be beneficial to improving our understanding of water storage responses to climate variability. In the study, we investigate the impact of three major global ocean–atmosphere interactions—El Niño and Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), and Atlantic Meridional Mode (AMM) on interannual TWS changes in the tropics and subtropics, using GRACE measurements and climate indices. Based on the least square principle, these climate indices, and the corresponding Hilbert transformations along with a linear trend, annual and semi-annual terms are fitted to the TWS time series on global 1 × 1 grids. By the fitted results, we analyze the connections between interannual TWS changes and ENSO, IOD, and AMM indices, and estimate the quantitative contributions of these climate phenomena to TWS changes. The results indicate that interannual TWS changes in the tropics and subtropics are related to ENSO, IOD, and AMM climate phenomena. The contribution of each climate phenomenon to TWS changes might vary in different regions, but in most parts of the tropics and subtropics, the ENSO contribution to TWS changes is found to be more dominant than those from IOD and AMM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3529
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate variability
  • Cross correlation
  • Least squares fit
  • Terrestrial water storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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