Contrasting the evolution between two types of El Niño in a data assimilation model

Chau Ron Wu*, Li Chiao Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Simulation outputs were used to contrast the distinct evolution patterns between two types of El Niño. The modeled isotherm depth anomalies closely matched satellite sea surface height anomalies. Results for the El Niño Modoki (central Pacific El Niño) corresponded well with previous studies which suggested that thermocline variations in the equatorial Pacific contain an east-west oscillation. The eastern Pacific El Niño experienced an additional north-south seesaw oscillation between approximately 15 N and 15 S. The wind stress curl pattern over the west-central Pacific was responsible for the unusual manifestation of the eastern Pacific El Niño. The reason why the 1982/1983 El Niño was followed by a normal state whereas a La Niña phase developed from the 1997/1998 El Niño is also discussed. In 1997/1998, the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) retreated faster and easterly trade winds appeared immediately after the mature El Niño, cooling the sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific and generating the La Niña event. The slow retreat of the ITCZ in 1982/1983 terminated the warm event at a much slower rate and ultimately resulted in a normal phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-587
Number of pages11
JournalOcean Dynamics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May


  • Central Pacific El Niño (El Niño Modoki)
  • Eastern Pacific El Niño
  • Wind stress curl pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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