National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2004

Shallow meridional circulation in the tropical eastern Pacific

Zhang, C., M. McGauley, and N.A. Bond

J. Climate, 17(1), 133–139, doi: 10.1175/1520-0442(2004)017<0133:SMCITT>2 (2004)

Based on four independent datasets, this study presents observational evidence of a shallow meridional circulation cell in the eastern tropical Pacific. In this shallow meridional circulation cell the northerly crossequatorial return flow from the ITCZ into the Southern Hemisphere is found immediately above the atmospheric boundary layer, in contrast to the classic concept of the Hadley-type deep meridional circulation whose northerly return flow resides in the upper troposphere. The strength and depth of this shallow meridional circulation undergo a distinct annual cycle. Possible causes and climatic implications of this shallow meridional circulation are discussed.

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