>Cross-Sectional Views of Three Significant El Nino Events – Part 1

>INTRODUCTION

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) provides illustrations of the “Potential Temperature Along the Equator”, which are cross-sectional presentations of equatorial subsurface temperature for the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. Refer to Figure 1.
Figure 1

Here’s a link to the ECMWF main webpage:
http://www.ecmwf.int/
And here’s a link to their Zonal Sections pages:
http://www.ecmwf.int/products/forecasts/d/charts/ocean/reanalysis/xzmaps/Monthly/

The video that follows is intended to help the reader visualize of the subsurface processes that take place during El Nino events, and what better El Nino events to examine than the three significant El Ninos of 1982/83, 1986/87/88, and 1997/98.

The first video in the series is the introduction and the presentation of the 1997/98 El Nino. A second video dealing with the 1982/83 and 1986/87/88 El Nino events will follow. The video is over 6 minutes long, but it goes quickly.

YouTube Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_tAz2IATT8

h/t to Carl Wolk of Climate Change:
http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/
Carl’s post The Evolution of La Nina gave me the idea for this post.

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in El Nino-La Nina Processes. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to >Cross-Sectional Views of Three Significant El Nino Events – Part 1

  1. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Carl, thanks for the reminder. I forgot to give you credit for giving me the idea for this post. I’ve corrected that.Regards

  2. frank mosher says:

    >Bob. Indonesia is a very active geothermal area. It is likely that there is some heating from geothermal sources. Also, the 1997=98 El Nino had positive SST anomalies for 14 months. The subsequent La Nina had negative SST anomalies for 35 months. As every El Nino since 1980 has been driven by an amomalous cool pool at 160e to 180e, at 150m depth, that has grown and spread east, it appears that the real driving force behing the El Nino is really the subsequent La Nina that is forming, below the surface.

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    >Frank Mosher: You wrote, “As every El Nino since 1980 has been driven by an amomalous cool pool at 160e to 180e, at 150m depth, that has grown and spread east, it appears that the real driving force behing the El Nino is really the subsequent La Nina that is forming, below the surface.”So not to confuse your use of the word pool with the Pacific Warm Pool, let’s change the subsurface “pool” to subsurface “pocket”.Let me ask, if you were to look at every La Nina since 1980, would there be an anomalous warm pocket in the same location, growing and spreading east? Another thing to note, do the subsurface anomalous pockets tend to follow along the thermocline, travelling east?http://ingrid.ldeo.columbia.edu/maproom/.ENSO/.Thermocline/Weekly_Anom_Loop.htmlAnd is a cool anomaly replaced by a warm anomaly and vice versa as the anomalies “flow” along the thermocline? It wouldn’t happen every year. Example: During the 1997/98 La Nina, it appeared that a warm pocket would follow the cool east along the thermocline, but then the warm dissipated and was replaced by another cool pocket, which has turned into this slight La Nina we’re presently experiencing. But then from 1982 through 1986, a cool pocket follows the warm, adding “meat” to the La Nina, and then another warm pocket follows the cool during the 1986/87/88 El Nino.

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