- A Theory for El Niño and the Southern Oscillation
Cane, Mark A.
Zebiak, Stephen E.
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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- Pacific Ocean--El Niño Current
- 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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