The relationship of Pacific deep tropical convection to the winter and springtime extratropical atmospheric circulation of the South Pacific in El Niño events

During some El Nino events Rossby wave trains (RWT) are observed to strongly modulate the seasonal atmospheric circulation of the South Pacific extratropics in the austral winter and spring. Here it is shown that seasonally intensified deep tropical convection is confined to the Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) close to the dateline in those events with strong RWT modulation but not in other cases. In other cases deep convection either withdraws from the ITCZ or the ITCZ strongly interacts with the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) lying at 5-10degreesS. In both cases this points to a weakening of the local tropical Hadley circulation that may be crucial for Rossby wave generation. It is also found that the expected RWT response in the high latitudes can fail to occur even when SST in the central tropical Pacific are very high.


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Authors: Harangozo, S.A.

1 January, 2004
Geophysical Research Letters / 31
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