Kumar, A., L. Zhang and W. Wang, 2012: Sea Surface Temperature - Precipitation Relationship in Different Reanalyses. Monthly Weather Review, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-12-00214.1
The focus of this investigation is how the relationship at intraseasonal time scales between sea surface temperature (SST) and precipitation (SST-P) varies among different reanalyses. The motivation for this work was spurred by a recent report that documented that the SST-P relationship in Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) was much closer to that in the observation than it was for the older generation of reanalysis – NCEP/NCAR reanalysis (R1) and NCEP/DOE reanalysis (R2). Further, the reason was attributed either to the fact that the CFSR is a partially coupled reanalysis, while R1 and R2 are atmospheric alone reanalyses, or that R1 and R2 use the observed weekly averaged SST.
The authors repeated the comparison of the SST-P relationship among R1, R2, and CFSR, as well as two recent generation of atmosphere alone reanalyses, the Modern Era-Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and the ECMWF Re-Analysis Interim (ERAI). The results clearly demonstrate that the differences in SST-P relationship at intraseasonal time scales across different reanalyses are not due to whether the reanalysis system is coupled or atmosphere alone, but are due to the specification of different SSTs. SST-P relationship in different reanalyses, when computed against a single SST for the benchmark, demonstrates a relationship that is common across all the reanalyses and observations.
Lead-lag SST-precipitation correlation for various reanalyses and for observations over the tropical western Pacific (averaged over 10°S–10°N, 130°–150°E) for respective SSTs were used (left panel), and for NCDC SST as the benchmark (right panel). Negative (positive) lag in days on the x axis indicates days by which the SST leads (lags) the precipitation.