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M. C. Spillane, D. B. Enfield, and J. S. Allen

Abstract

Hourly observations of coastal sea level at stations from Peru to British Columbia are analyzed for low-frequency content. A space-time contour plot of sea level, from four years of data during the 1971–75 period, shows the meridional structure of the seasonal cycle and interannual variability associated with the 1972–73 El Niño. Oscillations with intraseasonal periods of 36–73 days are also evident, coherent over alongshore distances of several thousand kilometers. Further investigation using spectral methods and empirical orthogonal function analysis in the frequency domain reveals, in particular, that intraseasonal sea level variability has a peak in spectral density along the coasts of South America, Central America and Mexico, with high coherence from near the equator (Tumaco, 2°N) north to central California (34°N) and south to at least Callao (12°S). Phase propagation north of the equator is poleward at 150–200 kilometers/day. Atmospheric pressure, alongshore wind stress and wind stress curl, derived from Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center data for the Northern Hemisphere, are used to assess the importance of local atmospheric forcing. The low coherence between sea level and these fields in the intraseasonal frequency band suggests that the observed oscillation may be a coastally propagating response to remote processes in the equatorial Pacific waveguide.

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William S. Kessler, M. C. Spillane, Michael J. McPhaden, and D. E. Harrison

Abstract

The highly temporally resolved time series from the Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean moored buoy array are used to evaluate the scales of thermal variability in the upper equatorial Pacific. The TAO array consists of nearly 70 deep-ocean moorings arranged nominally 15° longitude and 2°–3° latitude apart across the equatorial Pacific. The bulk of the data from the array consists of daily averages telemetered in real time, with some records up to 15 years long. However, at several sites more finely resolved data exist, in some cases with resolution of 1 minute. These data form the basis for spectral decomposition spanning virtually all scales of variability from the Brunt-Väiälä frequency to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation timescale. The spectra are used to define the signal to noise ratio as a function of sample rate and frequency, and to investigate the effects of aliasing that results from sparser sampling, such as ship-based observational techniques. The results show that the signal to noise ratio is larger in the east, mostly because the low-frequency signals are larger there. The noise level for SST varies by as much as a factor of 10 among the locations studied, while noise in thermocline depth is relatively more homogeneous over the region. In general, noise due to aliased high-frequency variability increases by roughly a factor of 10 as the sample rate decreases from daily to 100-day sampling. The highly resolved spectra suggest a somewhat more optimistic estimate of overall signal-to-noise ratios for typical ship of opportunity (VOS) XBT sampling (generally about 2) than had been found in previous studies using sparser data. Time scales were estimated for various filtered versions of the time series by integration of the autocorrelation functions. For high-passed data (periods longer than about 150 days removed), the timescale is about 5 days for both surface and subsurface temperatures everywhere in the region. Conversely, for low-passed data (the annual cycle and periods shorter than 150 days removed), the timescale is roughly 100 days. Horizontal space scales were estimated from cross-correlations among the buoys. Zonal scales of low-frequency SST variations along the equator were half the width of the Pacific, larger than those of thermocline depth (about 30°–40° longitude). In the cast, meridional scales of low-frequency SST were large (greater than about 15° latitude), associated with the coherent waxing and waning of the equatorial cold tongue, whereas in the west these scales were shorter. Thermocline depth variations had meridional scales associated with the equatorial waves, particularly in the east. Spatial scale estimates reported here are generally consistent with those found from the VOS datasets when the ENSO signals in the records of each dataset are taken into account. However, if signals with periods of 1 to 2 months are to be properly sampled, then sampling scales of 1°–2° latitude by 8°–10° longitude, with a 5-day timescale, are needed.

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Peter Bissolli, Catherine Ganter, Tim Li, Ademe Mekonnen, Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, Eric J. Alfaro, Lincoln M. Alves, Jorge A. Amador, B. Andrade, Francisco Argeñalso, P. Asgarzadeh, Julian Baez, Reuben Barakiza, M. Yu. Bardin, Mikhail Bardin, Oliver Bochníček, Brandon Bukunt, Blanca Calderón, Jayaka D. Campbell, Elise Chandler, Ladislaus Chang’a, Vincent Y. S. Cheng, Leonardo A. Clarke, Kris Correa, Catalina Cortés, Felipe Costa, A.P.M.A. Cunha, Mesut Demircan, K. R. Dhurmea, A. Diawara, Sarah Diouf, Dashkhuu Dulamsuren, M. ElKharrim, Jhan-Carlo Espinoza, A. Fazl-Kazem, Chris Fenimore, Steven Fuhrman, Karin Gleason, Charles “Chip” P. Guard, Samson Hagos, Mizuki Hanafusa, H. R. Hasannezhad, Richard R. Heim Jr., Hugo G. Hidalgo, J. A. Ijampy, Gyo Soon Im, Annie C. Joseph, G. Jumaux, K. R. Kabidi, P-H. Kamsu-Tamo, John Kennedy, Valentina Khan, Mai Van Khiem, Philemon King’uza, Natalia N. Korshunova, A. C. Kruger, Hoang Phuc Lam, Mark A. Lander, Waldo Lavado-Casimiro, Tsz-Cheung Lee, Kinson H. Y. Leung, Gregor Macara, Jostein Mamen, José A. Marengo, Charlotte McBride, Noelia Misevicius, Aurel Moise, Jorge Molina-Carpio, Natali Mora, Awatif E. Mostafa, Habiba Mtongori, Charles Mutai, O. Ndiaye, Juan José Nieto, Latifa Nyembo, Patricia Nying’uro, Xiao Pan, Reynaldo Pascual Ramírez, David Phillips, Brad Pugh, Madhavan Rajeevan, M. L. Rakotonirina, Andrea M. Ramos, M. Robjhon, Camino Rodriguez, Guisado Rodriguez, Josyane Ronchail, Benjamin Rösner, Roberto Salinas, Hirotaka Sato, Hitoshi Sato, Amal Sayouri, Joseph Sebaziga, Serhat Sensoy, Sandra Spillane, Katja Trachte, Gerard van der Schrier, F. Sima, Adam Smith, Jacqueline M. Spence, O. P. Sreejith, A. K. Srivastava, José L. Stella, Kimberly A. Stephenson, Tannecia S. Stephenson, S. Supari, Sahar Tajbakhsh-Mosalman, Gerard Tamar, Michael A. Taylor, Asaminew Teshome, Wassila M. Thiaw, Skie Tobin, Adrian R. Trotman, Cedric J. Van Meerbeeck, A. Vazifeh, Shunya Wakamatsu, Wei Wang, Fei Xin, F. Zeng, Peiqun Zhang, and Zhiwei Zhu
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Tim Li, Abdallah Abida, Laura S. Aldeco, Eric J. Alfaro, Lincoln M. Alves, Jorge A. Amador, B. Andrade, Julian Baez, M. Yu. Bardin, Endalkachew Bekele, Eric Broedel, Brandon Bukunt, Blanca Calderón, Jayaka D. Campbell, Diego A. Campos Diaz, Gilma Carvajal, Elise Chandler, Vincent. Y. S. Cheng, Chulwoon Choi, Leonardo A. Clarke, Kris Correa, Felipe Costa, A. P. Cunha, Mesut Demircan, R. Dhurmea, Eliecer A. Díaz, M. ElKharrim, Bantwale D. Enyew, Jhan C. Espinoza, Amin Fazl-Kazem, Nava Fedaeff, Z. Feng, Chris Fenimore, S. D. Francis, Karin Gleason, Charles “Chip” P. Guard, Indra Gustari, S. Hagos, Richard R. Heim Jr., Rafael Hernández, Hugo G. Hidalgo, J. A. Ijampy, Annie C. Joseph, Guillaume Jumaux, Khadija Kabidi, Johannes W. Kaiser, Pierre-Honore Kamsu-Tamo, John Kennedy, Valentina Khan, Mai Van Khiem, Khatuna Kokosadze, Natalia N. Korshunova, Andries C. Kruger, Nato Kutaladze, L. Labbé, Mónika Lakatos, Hoang Phuc Lam, Mark A. Lander, Waldo Lavado-Casimiro, T. C. Lee, Kinson H. Y. Leung, Andrew D. Magee, Jostein Mamen, José A. Marengo, Dora Marín, Charlotte McBride, Lia Megrelidze, Noelia Misevicius, Y. Mochizuki, Aurel Moise, Jorge Molina-Carpio, Natali Mora, Awatif E. Mostafa, uan José Nieto, Lamjav Oyunjargal, Reynaldo Pascual Ramírez, Maria Asuncion Pastor Saavedra, Uwe Pfeifroth, David Phillips, Madhavan Rajeevan, Andrea M. Ramos, Jayashree V. Revadekar, Miliaritiana Robjhon, Ernesto Rodriguez Camino, Esteban Rodriguez Guisado, Josyane Ronchail, Benjamin Rösner, Roberto Salinas, Amal Sayouri, Carl J. Schreck III, Serhat Sensoy, A. Shimpo, Fatou Sima, Adam Smith, Jacqueline Spence, Sandra Spillane, Arne Spitzer, A. K. Srivastava, José L. Stella, Kimberly A. Stephenson, Tannecia S. Stephenson, Michael A. Taylor, Wassila Thiaw, Skie Tobin, Dennis Todey, Katja Trachte, Adrian R. Trotman, Gerard van der Schrier, Cedric J. Van Meerbeeck, Ahad Vazifeh, José Vicencio Veloso, Wei Wang, Fei Xin, Peiqun Zhang, Zhiwei Zhu, and Jonas Zucule
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