Leading El-Niño SST oscillations around the Southern South American continent

Yu Chen Hsu, Chung Pan Lee*, You Lin Wang, Chau Ron Wu, Hon Kit Lui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The inter-annual variations in the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of the tropical and subtropical Pacific Ocean have been widely investigated, largely due to their importance in achieving the sustainable development of marine ecosystems under a changing climate. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a widely recognized variability. In the subpolar region in the southern hemisphere, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is one of the main sources of the Peru Current. A change in the SST in the Southern Ocean may change the physical properties of the seawater in the tropical and subtropical Pacific Ocean. However, the variations in the SST in the Southern Ocean have rarely been addressed. This study uses a 147-year (1870-2016) dataset from the Met Office Hadley Centre to show that the SST anomalies (SSTAs) in the oceans west and east of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula have strong positive (R = 0.56) and negative (R = -0.67) correlations with the Niño 3.4 SSTA, respectively. Such correlations are likely related to the changes in circulations of the ACC. We further show that, statistically, the temporal variations in the SSTAs of the ACC lead the Niño 3.4 SSTA by four to six months. Such findings imply that change in the strength of ENSO or circulation under the changing climate could change the climate in regions at higher latitudes as well.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1783
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 29


  • ACC
  • Antarctic Circumpolar Current
  • ENSO
  • HadISST
  • SST
  • Sea surface temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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