The role of off-equatorial surface temperature anomalies in the 2014 El Nino prediction
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The role of off-equatorial surface temperature anomalies in the 2014 El Nino prediction
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  • Source:
    Scientific Reports, 6, 19677.
Filetype[PDF-2.16 MB]

  • Description:
    The 2014 El Nino, anticipated to be a strong event in early 2014, turned out to be fairly weak. In early 2014, the tropical Pacific exhibited persistent negative SST anomalies in the southeastern Pacific and positive SST anomalies in north, following the pattern of the Southern Pacific Meridional Mode. In this study, we explored the role of the off-equatorial SST anomalies in the 2014 prediction. Our experiments show that 40% of the amplitude error at the peak phase could be attributed to the lack of prediction of negative SST anomalies in the southeastern Pacific. However, the impact of this model error is partially compensated by the absence of the positive SST anomalies in the tropical western North Pacific in the model. The model response to the amplitude of negative southeastern Pacific SST anomalies is nonlinear in terms of equatorial warming, because the enhanced meridional pressure gradient forces very strong meridional winds without accelerating the zonal wind component near the equator. Our study suggests that reliable forecasts of ENSO strongly rely on correctly modeling the meridional SST gradient, as well as its delicate feedback with the zonal (ENSO) mode.
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