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Schools in Science

Ocean modelling, variability and change


Understanding large-scale climate variability and changes involves to a large part understanding the ocean dynamics, as they represent 2/3 of the earths surface and about 99% of the active heat capacity on time scales from month to centuries. The Ocean modelling, variability and change group aims at  understanding ocean dynamics and their interaction with the atmosphere and the climate as a whole, largely by using numerical model simulations. The group deals with all levels of ocean modelling from simple theoretical equations to fully complex Ocean General Circulation Models(OGCMs) coupled or not  coupled to atmospheric GCMs. Our main interest are on large-scale phenomenon, such as El Nino, large-scale climate modes or large-scale ocean circulation variability and future projected change. In particular, the aspects that affect the Southern Hemisphere climate.

Research Team

Dr Dietmar Dommenget
Large-scale Climate Dynamics, Climate Modelling, El Nino, Modes of Variability, Climate Change

Dr Shayne McGregor
El Nino dynamics and predictability, Pacific decadal variability, Interbasin connectivity, the recent hiatus in global warming, drivers of western boundary currents, sea level rise and variability.

Recent Publications


Abellan, E., and S. McGregor, 2015:The role of the meridional wind shift in the seasonal synchronization of ENSOevents, Climate Dynamics (in press).

Cai, W.,  G.Wang, A. Santoso, M.J. McPhaden, L. Wu, F.F. Jin, A. Timmermann, M. Collins, G.Vecchi, M. Lengaigne, M.H. England, D. Dommenget, K. Takahashi and E.Guilyardi, 2015: Increased frequency of extreme La Niña events undergreenhouse warming.  Nature Climate Change, 5, 2, 132-137.

Frankcombe, L. M., S. McGregor and M.H. England, 2015: Robustness of the modes of Indo-Pacific sea levelvariability, Climate Dynamics, 45, 1281-1298, doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2377-0.

Maher, N., S. McGregor, M. H. Englandand A. Sen Gupta, 2015: Effects of Volcanism on Tropical Variability, GeophysicalResearch Letters, 42,6024–6033, doi: 10.1002/2015GL064751.

McGregor, S., A. Timmermann, andF.-F. Jin, 2015: Charging El Niño events with off-equatorial wind bursts? ClimateDynamics (in press).

Santoso, A., Cai,W. Collins, M., McPhaden, M., Jin, F.F. Guilyardi, E. Vecchi, G., Dommenget, D.Wang, G., 2015: ENSO Extremes and Diversity: Dynamics, Teleconnections, andImpacts. BAMS, in press.

Tyrrell, N. L., D.Dommenget , C. Frauen, S. Wales and M. Rezny, 2015: The Influence of Global SeaSurface Temperature Variability on the Large-Scale Land Surface Temperature.Climate Dynamics, 44, 2159-2176.

Wang, G., D.Dommenget and C. Frauen, 2015: An Evaluation of the CMIP3 and CMIP5 simulationsin their skill of simulating the spatial structure of SST variability. ClimateDynamics, 44, 95-114.

Yu, Y., D.Dommenget, C. Frauen, G. Wang and S. Wales, 2015: ENSO diversity as a result ofthe recharge oscillator interacting with the slab ocean. Climate Dynamics, inpress.


Dommenget, D., S. Haase, T. Bayr andC. Frauen, 2014: Analysis of the Slab-Ocean El Nino Atmospheric Feedbacks inObserved and Simulated ENSO Dynamics. Climate Dynamics, 42, 3187-3205.

England, M. H., S. McGregor, P.Spence, G. A. Meehl, A. Timmermann, W. Cai, A. Sen Gupta, M. J. McPhaden, A.Purich and A. Santoso, 2014:Recent intensification of wind-drivencirculation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus, Nature ClimateChange, 4, 222-227, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2106.

Frauen, C., D. Dommenget , M. Reznyand S. Wales, 2014: Analysis of the Non-Linearity of El Nino SouthernOscillation Teleconnections. J. Climate, 27, 6225-6244.

McGregor, S., P. Spence, F. U.Schwarzkopf, M. H. England, A. Santoso, W. S. Kessler, A. Timmermann, C. W.Böning, 2014: ENSO driven interhemispheric Pacific mass transports, Journalof Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2014, 119, 6221-6237.

McGregor, S., A. Timmermann, M. F.Stuecker, M. H. England, M. Merrifield, F.-F. Jin, Y. Chikamoto, 2014: RecentWalker Circulation strengthening and Pacific cooling amplified by Atlanticwarming, Nature Climate Change, 4, 888-892, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2330.

Widlanski, M. J., A. Timmermann, S.McGregor, M. F. Stuecker, W. Cai, 2014: An interhemispheric tropical sea levelseesaw due to El Niño Taimasa. Journal of Climate, 27, 1070–1081,doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00276.1

Recent Grants

Climate SystemScience, ARC Centre of Excellence (2011-2017). CIs:  A. Pitman, C.Jakob, N. Bindoff, M. England, D. Karoly M. Roderick, L. Alexander, A.Hogg, D. Dommenget, M. Reeder, T. Lane, S. Sherwood, S. Steffen, P.Strutton.

Beyond the lineardynamics of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, ARC Discovery (2012-2015), CIs: D.Dommenget.

Understanding thetermination of El Nino-Southern Oscillation events, ARC DECRA (2013-2015), CI. S.McGregor.

Remote forcing ofPacific Ocean variability and impacts on global climate, ARC DP (2015-2017),CIs: M. England, A. Sen Gupta, A. Santoso and S. McGregor, PIs: C.Ummenhofer, W. Cai and A. Timmermann.