Observed relationships between the El Nino-Southern Oscillation and the extratropical zonal-mean circulation

Michelle L. L'Heureux, David W. J. Thompson

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Northern Hemisphere (NH) with centers of action located near ∼25° and ∼45° during early and late boreal winter. Both structures are accompanied by eddy momentum flux anomalies that exhibit a remarkable degree of hemispheric symmetry. In the SH, the extratropical signature of ENSO projects strongly onto the primary mode of large-scale variability, the southern annular mode (SAM). During the austral summer, roughly 25% of the temporal variability in the SAM is linearly related to fluctuations in the ENSO cycle. An analogous relationship is not observed in association with the principal mode of climate variability in the NH, the northern annular mode (NAM).

It is argued that the seasonally varying impact of ENSO on the extratropical circulation is consistent with the impact of the thermally forced subtropical wind anomalies on the dissipation of equatorward-propagating wave activity at subtropical latitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276–287
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2006

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