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Title: What Controls the Duration of El Niño and La Niña Events?
The temporal evolution of El Niño and La Niña varies greatly from event to event. To understand the dynamical processes controlling the duration of El Niño and La Niña events, a suite of observational data and a long control simulation of the Community Earth System Model, version 1, are analyzed. Both observational and model analyses show that the duration of El Niño is strongly affected by the timing of onset. El Niño events that develop early tend to terminate quickly after the mature phase because of the early arrival of delayed negative oceanic feedback and fast adjustments of the tropical Atlantic and Indian Oceans to the tropical Pacific Ocean warming. The duration of La Niña events is, on the other hand, strongly influenced by the amplitude of preceding warm events. La Niña events preceded by a strong warm event tend to persist into the second year because of large initial discharge of the equatorial oceanic heat content and delayed adjustments of the tropical Atlantic and Indian Oceans to the tropical Pacific cooling. For both El Niño and La Niña, the interbasin sea surface temperature (SST) adjustments reduce the anomalous SST gradient toward the tropical Pacific and weaken surface wind anomalies over the western equatorial Pacific, hastening the event termination. Other factors external to the dynamics of El Niño–Southern Oscillation, such as coupled variability in the tropical Atlantic and Indian Oceans and atmospheric variability over the North Pacific, also contribute to the diversity of event duration.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1756883
NSF-PAR ID:
10136855
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Volume:
32
Issue:
18
ISSN:
0894-8755
Page Range / eLocation ID:
5941 to 5965
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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