Comparison of Variations in Atmospheric Quantities with Sea Surface Temperature Variations in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific

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  • 1 NOAA, Air Resources Laboratories, Silver Spring, MD 20910, and CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Physics, Mordialloc, Victoria 3195 Australia
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Abstract

Sea surface temperature (SST) variations in the equatorial eastern Pacific (0–10°S, 180–90°W) are compared with variations in atmospheric temperature, circulation, rainfall and trace-constituent amount. Significant at the 99.9% level (taking into account the serial correlation in the seasonal data) is the zero-lag correlation of −0.62 between this SST and the Southern Oscillation Index (normalized pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin) during 1932–79, the correlation of 0.72 between this SST and the zonally averaged temperature in the tropical troposphere two seasons later during 1958–79, and the correlation of −0.62 between this SST and Indian summer monsoon rainfall 1–2 seasons earlier during 1868–1977. Significant at the 99% level is the correlation of 0.67 between this SST and rate of increase of CO2 at the South Pole 2–3 seasons later during 1965–76, and significant at the 95% level the correlation or 0.37 between this SST and rate of increase of CO2 at Mauna Loa one season later during 1958–78. Also significant at nearly the 99% level is the negative zero-lag correlation between this SST and rainfall in eastern Australia. Correlations of marginal significance (95% level) have been obtained between this SST and the Northern Hemisphere, temperate-latitude and United States temperatures, north circumpolar vortex area at 10 km and vortex displacement, latitude of the subpolar low and subtropical high, and total ozone, stratospheric water vapor and sunshine duration in the North American region. Implied relationships include enhanced Hadley circulation near time of warmest SST, minimum Indian summer monsoon rainfall and United States sunshine duration at time of expanded polar vortex and equatorward displacement of subpolar low and subtropical high, and cold winter temperature in the United States at time of warm SST, or at the time both of expanded polar vortex and displacement of the vortex toward 90°W.

Abstract

Sea surface temperature (SST) variations in the equatorial eastern Pacific (0–10°S, 180–90°W) are compared with variations in atmospheric temperature, circulation, rainfall and trace-constituent amount. Significant at the 99.9% level (taking into account the serial correlation in the seasonal data) is the zero-lag correlation of −0.62 between this SST and the Southern Oscillation Index (normalized pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin) during 1932–79, the correlation of 0.72 between this SST and the zonally averaged temperature in the tropical troposphere two seasons later during 1958–79, and the correlation of −0.62 between this SST and Indian summer monsoon rainfall 1–2 seasons earlier during 1868–1977. Significant at the 99% level is the correlation of 0.67 between this SST and rate of increase of CO2 at the South Pole 2–3 seasons later during 1965–76, and significant at the 95% level the correlation or 0.37 between this SST and rate of increase of CO2 at Mauna Loa one season later during 1958–78. Also significant at nearly the 99% level is the negative zero-lag correlation between this SST and rainfall in eastern Australia. Correlations of marginal significance (95% level) have been obtained between this SST and the Northern Hemisphere, temperate-latitude and United States temperatures, north circumpolar vortex area at 10 km and vortex displacement, latitude of the subpolar low and subtropical high, and total ozone, stratospheric water vapor and sunshine duration in the North American region. Implied relationships include enhanced Hadley circulation near time of warmest SST, minimum Indian summer monsoon rainfall and United States sunshine duration at time of expanded polar vortex and equatorward displacement of subpolar low and subtropical high, and cold winter temperature in the United States at time of warm SST, or at the time both of expanded polar vortex and displacement of the vortex toward 90°W.

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