Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

Shih-Yu (Simon) Wang


Shih-Yu (Simon) Wang


Yoshimitsu Chikamoto


Wei Zhang


Binod Pokharel


Boniface Fosu


The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a climate variability characterized by fluctuations in the atmospheric and upper ocean conditions of the tropical Pacific Ocean that result in either warmer- or colder-than-average sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical eastern Pacific. These changes cause variations in weather and climate in distant locations through large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns. These variations often manifest in form of adverse effects or extremes such as heat waves, droughts, or floods, making efforts towards improving ENSO prediction critical in mitigating its impact on various sectors. This dissertation focuses on how interactions between the atmosphere and ocean in the western North Pacific (WNP) can help improve ENSO prediction, as these processes are documented to precede and promote ENSO at two distinct timescales. Chapter 2 examines the effects of future warming on the 1-year lead relationship between WNP and ENSO, including future changes to the amplitude and frequency of ENSO events and the location of the peak SST anomalies of ENSO under the influence of WNP processes 1 year prior. Chapter 3 aims to discern the fundamental dynamics underlying the 3-year lead relationship between SST anomalies that form in the western North Pacific and the processes that drive their shift towards the central–eastern equatorial Pacific prior to ENSO. Chapter 4 concludes this dissertation by providing an application of ENSO teleconnection through its role in promoting climate extremes in Tanzania.