, Volume 36, Issue 7-8, pp 1555-1576
Date: 21 Sep 2010

Understanding the SAM influence on the South Pacific ENSO teleconnection

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Abstract

The relationship between the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) is examined, with the goal of understanding how various strong SAM events modulate the ENSO teleconnection to the South Pacific (45°–70°S, 150°–70°W). The focus is on multi-month, multi-event variations during the last 50 years. A significant (p < 0.10) relationship is observed, most marked during the austral summer and in the 1970s and 1990s. In most cases, the significant relationship is brought about by La Niña (El Niño) events occurring with positive (negative) phases of the SAM more often than expected by chance. The South Pacific teleconnection magnitude is found to be strongly dependent on the SAM phase. Only when ENSO events occur with a weak SAM or when a La Niña (El Niño) occurs with a positive (negative) SAM phase are significant South Pacific teleconnections found. This modulation in the South Pacific ENSO teleconnection is directly tied to the interaction of the anomalous ENSO and SAM transient eddy momentum fluxes. During La Niña/SAM+ and El Niño/SAM− combinations, the anomalous transient momentum fluxes in the Pacific act to reinforce the circulation anomalies in the midlatitudes, altering the circulation in such a way to maintain the ENSO teleconnections. In La Niña/SAM− and El Niño/SAM+ cases, the anomalous transient eddies oppose each other in the midlatitudes, overall acting to reduce the magnitude of the high latitude ENSO teleconnection.

Contribution 1400 of the Byrd Polar Research Center.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-011-1201-3.