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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Jul 2013
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
One plausible reason for the change in ENSO characteristics in the 2000s
V. N. Stepanov Dept. of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
Abstract. It is well known that El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) causes floods, droughts and the collapse of fisheries, therefore forecasting of ENSO is an important task in climate researches. Variations in the equatorial warm water volume of the tropical Pacific and wind variability in the western equatorial Pacific has been considered to be a good ENSO predictor. However, in the 2000s, the interrelationship between these two characteristics and ENSO onsets became weak. This article attempts to find some plausible explanation for this.

The results presented here demonstrate a possible link between the variability of atmospheric conditions over the Southern Ocean and their impact on the ocean circulation leading to the amplifying/triggering of ENSO events. It is shown that the variability of the atmospheric conditions upstream of Drake Passage can strongly influence ENSO events. The interrelationship between ENSO and variability in the equatorial warm water volume of the equatorial Pacific, together with wind variability in the western equatorial Pacific has recently weakened. It can be explained by the fact that the process occurred in the Southern Ocean recently became a major contributor amplifying ENSO events (in comparison with the processes of interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean in the tropics of the Pacific). Likely it is due to a warmer ocean state observed from the end of the 1990s that led to smaller atmospheric variability in the tropics and insignificant their changes in the Southern Ocean.

Citation: Stepanov, V. N.: One plausible reason for the change in ENSO characteristics in the 2000s, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 10, 951-984,, 2013.
V. N. Stepanov
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC C392: 'reviewers comment', Anonymous Referee #1, 30 Jul 2013 Printer-friendly Version 
AC C517: 'thanks for review', Vladimir Stepanov, 30 Sep 2013 Printer-friendly Version 
RC C458: 'Review', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Sep 2013 Printer-friendly Version 
AC C471: 'Anonymous Referee #2', Vladimir Stepanov, 16 Sep 2013 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
V. N. Stepanov
V. N. Stepanov


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