On the role of the North Equatorial Counter Current during a strong El Niño

Webb, David. 2018 On the role of the North Equatorial Counter Current during a strong El Niño. Ocean Science, 14 (4). 633-660.

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An analysis of archived data from the NEMO 1∕12th degree global ocean model shows the importance of the North Equatorial Counter Current (NECC) in the development of the strong 1982–1983 and 1997–1998 El Niños. The model results indicate that in a normal year the core of warm water in the NECC is diluted by the surface Ekman transport, by geostrophic inflow and by tropical instability waves. During the development of the 1982–1983 and 1997–1998 El Niños, these processes had reduced effect at the longitudes of warmest equatorial temperatures and to the west. During the autumns of 1982 and 1997, the speed of the NECC was also increased by a stronger-than-normal annual Rossby wave. The increased transport of warm water by the NECC due to these changes resulted in warm water reaching the far eastern Pacific and appears to have been a major factor in moving the centre of deep atmospheric convection eastwards across the Pacific.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1812-0792
Date made live: 27 Jul 2018 14:32 +0 (UTC)

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