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  1. Anthropogenic surface warming dominates and drives a global acceleration of the upper ocean currents in a warmer climate. 
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  2. Abstract The influence of eastern tropical Pacific (EPAC; 10°S–10°N, 140°–80°W) wind anomalies on El Niño is investigated using observations and model experiments. Extreme and moderate El Niños exhibit contrasting anomalous wind patterns in the EPAC during the peak and decay phases: westerly wind anomalies during extreme El Niño and southeasterly (southwesterly) wind anomalies south (north) of the equator during moderate El Niño. Experiments with an ocean general circulation model indicate that for extreme El Niño, the eastward intrusion of westerly wind anomalies contributes to the prolonged positive sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the eastern equatorial Pacific throughout boreal spring by weakened upwelling and horizontal advection. For moderate El Niño, by contrast, both the meridional and zonal anomalous winds over the EPAC are important in the rapid (slow) SST cooling south (north) of the equator through advection and wind–evaporation–SST feedback. Atmospheric model experiments confirm that these EPAC anomalous winds are primarily forced by tropical SST anomalies. The interplay between wind and SST anomalies suggests positive air–sea feedbacks over EPAC during the decay phase of El Niño. Ocean model results show that the frequency of extreme El Niño increases when EPAC wind anomalies are removed, suggesting the importance of EPAC winds for El Niño diversity. 
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