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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The influence of ENSO on global terrestrial water storage using GRACE


 The influence of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on terrestrial water storage is analyzed for the time period 2003–2010 using monthly estimates of continental water storage from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). Peak correlation between NOAA's Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) and the measured mass anomaly timeseries shows an R2 of 0.65 for the Amazon Basin and Borneo in Southeast Asia. By including a Hilbert transformation of the MEI to account for time lag, the R2is improved to 0.76. Tropical regions show strong negative correlation with the MEI and arid regions are positively correlated. GRACE is able to detect all the significant known ENSO teleconnection patterns around the globe, including Alaska and Antarctica. In addition, a significant correlation suggests some of Greenland's recent mass loss could be ENSO-related.

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