Climate Dynamics

, Volume 36, Issue 7–8, pp 1555–1576 | Cite as

Understanding the SAM influence on the South Pacific ENSO teleconnection

  • Ryan L. FogtEmail author
  • David H. Bromwich
  • Keith M. Hines


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.


Momentum Flux Transient Eddy Zonal Wind Anomaly High Southern Latitude Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



A portion of this work was conducted while RLF held a National Research Council Research Associateship Award at NOAA. All authors acknowledge support from NSF ATM grant #0751291. RLF also acknowledges support from NSF OPP grant #ANT-0944168. Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their comments which helped to improve the manuscript and clarify our main points.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan L. Fogt
    • 1
    Email author
  • David H. Bromwich
    • 2
    • 3
  • Keith M. Hines
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.Polar Meteorology Group, Byrd Polar Research CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Atmospheric Sciences Program, Department of GeographyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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