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North Tropical Atlantic Surface Temperature a Trigger for Enso Events

Teleconnections are believed to allow other ocean basins in the tropics to be affected by the El Niño events, the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation,  ENSO, in the Pacific Ocean. According to the authors1 the evidence is mounting that temperature variability in the ENSO may also be affected by temperature variability in the Atlantic Ocean (Dommenget, et al., 2006); Jansen et al., 2009; Frauen et al., 2012; Rodriguez-Fonseca et al., 2009; Ding, et al., 2012). The authors1 demonstrated that anomalies of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic during the Boreal spring can trigger ENSO events in the Pacific, by the use of reanalysis data and general circulation models. The  authors1 say they have identified a subtropical teleconnection  in the tropical North Atlantic that can induce a low-level cyclonic flow in the atmosphere above the eastern Pacific Ocean which in turn produces an anticyclonic flow above the western Pacific ocean over the following months. Easterly winds are generated  over the western equatorial Pacific by this flow that cool the equatorial regions of the Pacific which could result in a La Nina event in the following winter. Cold anomalies lead to El Nino events that tend to be warm-pool El Nino events with the central Pacific being the location of  their centre of action rather than canonical El Nino events. The authors1 suggest that the forecasting of the development of El Nino events of different types could be assisted by identifying temperature anomalies in the north tropical Atlantic.




Sources & Further reading

  1. Ham, Yoo-Geun, Jong-Seong Kug, Jong-Yeon Park, and Fei-Fei Jin. "Sea Surface Temperature in the North Tropical Atlantic as a Trigger for El Nino/Southern Oscillation Events." Nature Geosci 6, no. 2 (02//print 2013): 112-16.
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 12/02/2013

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