Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

Yoshimitsu Chikamoto


Yoshimitsu Chikamoto


Shih-Yu Wang


Lawrence E. Hipps


Tammy Rittenour


Michael J. McPhaden


This dissertation explores the connection between ocean basins through the atmosphere by employing observational data analyses and a climate modeling approach. Sea surface temperature changes in the tropical Pacific, known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, can influence worldwide weather and sea surface temperatures in other ocean basins. For instance, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures can impact the Atlantic and Indian Oceans through airflow changes along the equator. However, Atlantic and Indian Ocean sea surface temperature changes can also influence the tropical Pacific through similar processes. Therefore, it is challenging to identify the mechanisms of these remote connections between ocean basins due to two-way interconnections. To better understand how ocean basins are connected by the atmosphere, this dissertation uses climate models to simulate the climate response from ocean forcing. Results in this dissertation show that the three tropical oceans are more tightly connected than previously thought. After introducing the dissertation in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 shows how the Atlantic Ocean can cause long-lasting changes in Australia rainfall through teleconnections. Chapter 3 reveals that Atlantic sea surface temperatures can influence north Pacific sea surface temperatures through remote teleconnections. Lastly, Chapter 4 explores trends in rainfall in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean from the 1980s to the 2010s. The results in this dissertation provide a path forward to increase the forecasting capability of the El Niño Southern Oscillation and help the climate science community enhance our understanding of climate variability.



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