El Ninño and La Ninña - Equatorial Pacific thermocline depth and sea surface temperature anomalies, 1986-98

D. E. Harrison, Gabriel A. Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Simple models of the El Ninño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon have provided many of our basic ideas about ENSO mechanisms. These models exhibit a range of correlation patterns between thermocline depth anomaly (Z20A) and sea surface temperature anomaly (SSTA). We use 13 years of Pacific equatorial waveguide observations to explore the relationships between Z20A and SSTA. We find significant correlation in the eastern pacific, and in the east-central pacific when the east-central Pacific is normal or cooler than normal. We find no correlation in the western, west-central and east-central (when warmer than normal) Pacific. It is inappropriate to attribute SSTA changes to Z20A changes. Coupled ENSO models should be reexamined in light of these observed Z20A/SSTA relationship. Analysis of ocean general circulation models suggests that progress in understanding ENSO may depend as mush on understanding SSTA/wind/near-surface current relationships and processes, as upon thermocline change processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1054
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'El Ninño and La Ninña - Equatorial Pacific thermocline depth and sea surface temperature anomalies, 1986-98'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this