National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2023

Oceanic heat content as a predictor of the Indian Ocean Dipole

Liu, M., M.J. McPhaden, H.-L. Ren, M.A. Balmaseda, and R. Wang

J. Geophys. Res., 127(12), e2022JC018896, doi: 10.1029/2022JC018896, View article online at Wiley (external link) (2022)

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) prediction is a challenging problem, largely relying on the relationship between IOD and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This study demonstrates that heat content internal to the Indian Ocean can be an effective predictor providing extra IOD predictability, through constructing statistical prediction models with and without heat content as a predictor. Two recently proposed heat content predictors, equatorial heat content (EQHC) and heat content in the eastern pole of the Dipole (SEHC) are compared in this study. Results show that EQHC is more effective partly because it is relatively independent of ENSO and partly because it does not rely on IOD persistence, as does SEHC. The efficacy of EQHC as an IOD predictor is seasonally dependent, being most effective at 5–8-month lead times beginning in the preceding late boreal winter and spring.

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