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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An SST anomaly dipole in the northern subtropical Pacific and its relationships with ENSO

  • Author(s): Yu, Jin-Yi;
  • Liu, W. Timothy;
  • Mechoso, Carlos R
  • et al.

This study examines the links between tropical and subtropical sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the Pacific Ocean during ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) events. A long-term simulation by the UCLA coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model is used. It is found that a zonally-oriented SST anomaly dipole in the subtropical Pacific develops almost simultaneously with and is closely related to tropical ENSO events. The dipole is located east of the dateline between 20°N and 40°N and consists of an anomaly center off the coast of the North America and another anomaly center with opposite sign further to the west. It is demonstrated that this dipole feature is primarily driven by anomalous surface heat fluxes associated with the altered atmospheric circulation during ENSO events.

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