A Theory for El Niño and the Southern Oscillation
Mark A. Cane; Stephen E. Zebiak
- A Theory for El Niño and the Southern Oscillation
Cane, Mark A.
Zebiak, Stephen E.
- Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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- A coupled atmosphere-ocean model is presented for El Niño and the Southern Oscillation that reproduces its major features, including its recurrence at irregular intervals. The interannual El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle is maintained by deterministic interactions in the tropical Pacific region. Ocean dynamics alter sea-surface temperature, changing the atmospheric heating; the resulting changes in surface wind alter the ocean dynamics. Annually varying mean conditions largely determine the spatial pattern and temporal evolution of El Niño events.
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