Feature Publication Archive
Chiodi, A.M., and D.E. Harrison (2015): Equatorial Pacific easterly wind surges and the onset of La Niña events. J. Climate, 28 (2), 776-792, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00227.1.
It has become well accepted that Westerly Wind Events (WWE) lasting for about a week play a fundamental role in the onset and maintenance of El Niño events in the tropical Pacific. In this paper we show that there are wind events of similar size and duration that appear to play a similar role in the onset and maintenance of La Niña events. We call these wind events Easterly Wind Surges (EWSs). They have been previously overlooked in studies of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon because they do not stand out in wind (speed) records in the same way that WWEs do; only when looking at... more »
Cai, W., S. Borlace, M. Lengaigne, P. van Rensch, M. Collins, G. Vecchi, A. Timmermann, A. Santoso, M.J. McPhaden, L. Wu, M.H. England, G. Wang, E. Guilyardi, and F.-F. Jin (2014): Increasing frequency of extreme El Niño events due to greenhouse warming. Nature Climate Change, 4, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2100, 111-116.
In a paper recently published in Nature Climate Change, a group of climate scientists, including Dr. Michael McPhaden of PMEL, used 20 climate models to assess possible changes in El Niño behavior in response to greenhouse gas forcing over the next 100 years. They found a consistent pattern across most models for the frequency of intense El Niños to double in the 21st century, with the likelihood of extreme events occurring roughly once every 10 years instead of once every 20. Intense El Niños, like those in 1982-83 and 1997-98, have dramatic worldwide impacts, increasing... more »
Kessler, W.S., and S. Cravatte (2013): ENSO and short-term variability of the South Equatorial Current entering the Coral Sea. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 43(5), doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0113.1, 956–969.
The South Equatorial Current (SEC) is the westward limb of the South Pacific subtropical gyre, carrying transport and water properties accumulated over a decade or more circulating around the gyre. Arriving at the coast of Australia, the current splits, turning north or south. The northward flowing part is of great interest for the tropical climate because it represents a principal means for the equator to feel the effect of the extratropics, and its effects can be magnified since equatorial air-sea interaction is very sensitive to small anomalies. Much work over the past two decades has... more »