Interannual variability and dynamics of intraseasonal wind rectification in the equatorial Pacific Ocean

  • Xia Zhao
  • Dongliang YuanEmail author
  • Guang Yang
  • Jing Wang
  • Hailong Liu
  • Renhe Zhang
  • Weiqing Han


The rectification of intraseasonal wind forcing on interannual sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) and sea level anomalies (SLA) associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) during 1993–2016 are investigated using the LICOM ocean general circulation model forced with daily winds. The comparisons of the experiments with and without the intraseasonal wind forcing have shown that the rectified interannual SSTA and SLA by the intraseasonal winds are much weaker than the total interannual SSTA and SLA in the cold tongue, due to the much weaker rectified than the total interannual Kelvin and Rossby waves in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The dynamics of the rectification are through the nonlinear zonal and vertical advection by the background currents, which produces downwelling equatorial Kelvin waves during El Niño. The meridional advection is much smaller than the zonal and vertical advection, suggesting that the rectification is not induced by the Ekman dynamics or the thermocline rectification. The rectified interannual Kelvin waves are found to be much smaller than reflected at the Pacific western boundary and those forced by the interannual winds, suggesting that the latter two play a much more important role in ENSO dynamics than the intraseasonal winds. The results of this study suggest an unlikely significant role of oceanic nonlinear rectification by intraseasonal winds during the onset and cycling of El Niño.


Intraseasonal rectification Interannual variability ENSO Kelvin and Rossby waves Nonlinear oceanic dynamics 



This work was supported jointly by NSFC (41421005, 41375094, 41406028, 41720104008, 41776011), QMSNL (2016ASKJ12), CAS (XDA11010102, XDA11010205), and the Shandong Provincial projects (U1406401). We thank the Aviso project, Hadley Center, and NCEP for sharing their data.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of Sciences and Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao)QingdaoChina
  2. 2.Center for Ocean Mega-ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Center for Ocean and Climate Research, First Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Laboratory for Regional Oceanography and Numerical ModelingQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  6. 6.National Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  7. 7.Institute of Atmospheric SciencesFudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  8. 8.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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