National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1986

Effects of surface heat flux during the 1972 and 1982 El Niño episodes

Reed, R.K.

Nature, 322(6078), 449–450, doi: 10.1038/322449a0 (1986)

It has been suggested that anomalous surface heat flux may be partly responsible for the initial warming that occurs in the eastern Pacific during El Niño events. Sea surface temperature, net surface heat flux, and winds in the equatorial Pacific are examined here for the 1972 and 1982 El Niño episodes. It is found that surface heat flux and sea surface temperature anomalies tend to have little or negative correlation; thus, surface flux is not of major importance in the formation of thermal anomalies in the central and eastern Pacific.

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