Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 717–746 | Cite as

Analysis of the global relationship of biennial variation of sea surface temperature and air-sea heat flux using satellite data

  • Masanori Konda
  • Norihisa Imasato
  • Akira Shibata


We investigated the phase difference and the cross correlation coefficient between the band-pass filtered biennial variations of sea surface temperature (SST) and air-sea heat flux estimated by the monthly mean 2°×2° satellite data of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) from July 1987 to June 1991. Judging from the phase difference, it can be determined whether the biennial variation of SST is controlled by local thermal air-sea interaction or oceanic processes of horizontal transport. When the local air-sea heat flux controls the biennial variation of SST, the phase of SST advances π/2 (∼6 months) against that of the air-sea heat flux. In contrast, when the biennial variation of SST is controlled by the oceanic process, the phase difference between the SST and the air-sea heat flux becomes 0 or π(∼12 months). In this case, two types of the phase differences are determined, depending on which variability of SST and air-sea heat flux is larger. The close thermal air-sea interaction is noticeable in the tropics and in the western boundary current region. The phase difference of π/2 appears mainly in the north Pacific, the southeast Indian Ocean, and the western tropical Pacific; zero in the eastern tropical Pacific and the northeast and equatorial Atlantic; and that of π in the central equatorial Pacific and north of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) of the Atlantic. Phase differences of 0, π, or π/2 are possible in the western boundary current regions. This fact indicates that each current plays a different role to the biennial variation of SST. It is inferred that SST anomalies in the tropics are mutually correlated, and the process in which marked SST anomalies in the tropics are transferred to the remote area was probed. In the equatorial Pacific, the SST anomaly is transferred by the long planetary wave. On the other hand, it is found from the phase relationship and the horizontal correlation of SST that the SST anomaly in the central and western equatorial Pacific is connected through atmospheric mediation. It is suggested that the biennial variation of SST in the eastern Indian Ocean is affected by heat transport due to the Indonesian throughflow from the western tropical Pacific. It is found that the mentioned pattern of the interannual variation of SST in the tropical Atlantic as a dipole is not tenable.


Indian Ocean Cross Correlation Phase Difference Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Planetary Wave 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnett, T. P. (1991): The interaction of multiple time scales in the tropical climate system.J. Climate,4, 269–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brady, E. C. (1994): Interannual variability of Meridional transport in a numerical model of the upper equatorial Pacific Ocean.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,24, 2675–2694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gill, A. E. (1982):Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics. Academic Press, 666 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Godfrey, J. S. (1989): A Sverdrup model of the depth—integrated flow for the ocean allowing for island circulations.Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn.,45, 89–112.Google Scholar
  5. Godfrey, J. S. and E. J. Lindstrom (1989): Budget of the equatorial western Pacific surface mixed layer.J. Geophys. Res.,94, 8007–8017.Google Scholar
  6. Graham, N. E. and T. P. Barnett (1987): Sea surface temperature, surface wind divergence, and convection over tropical oceans.Science,238, 657–659.Google Scholar
  7. Halpert, M. S. and C. F. Ropelewski (1992): Surface temperature patterns associated with the southern oscillation.J. Climate,5, 577–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hastenrath, S. (1991):Climate Dynamics of the Tropics, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 488 pp. (see Figure Scholar
  9. Hastenrath, S. and L. Heller (1977): Dynamics of climatic hazards in northeast Brazil.Quart. J. R. Met. Soc.,103, 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hirst, A. C. and S. Hastenrath (1983): Atmosphere-ocean mechanisms of climate anomalies in the Angola—tropical Atlantic sector.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,13, 1146–1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Houghton, R. W. (1991): The relationship of sea surface temperature to thermocline depth at annual and interannual time scales in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.J. Geophys. Res.,96, 15173–15185.Google Scholar
  12. Houghton, R. W. and Y. M. Tourre (1992): Characteristics of low-frequency sea surface temperature fluctuations in the tropical Atlantic.J. Climate,5, 765–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Joseph, P. V., J. K. Eischeid and R. J. Ptyle (1994): Internannual variability of the onset of the Indian summer monsoon and its association with atmospheric features, El Niño, and sea surface temperature anomalies.J. Climate,7, 81–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Konda M., N. Imasato, K. Nishi and T. Toda (1994): Measurement of the sea surface emissivity.J. Oceanogr.,50, 17–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Konda, M., N. Imasato and A. Shibata (1996): A new method to determine near-sea surface air temperature by using satellite data.J. Geophys. Res.,101, 14349–14360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kutsuwada, K. (1991): Quasi-periodic variabilities of wind-stress fields over the Pacific ocean related to ENSO events.J. Meteor. Soc. Japan,69, 687–700.Google Scholar
  17. Large, W. G. and S. Pond (1982): Sensible and latent heat flux mesurements over the ocean.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,12, 464–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lau, K. M. and P. H. Chan (1988): Intraseasonal and interannual variations of tropical convection: a possible link between the 40–50 day oscillation and ENSO?J. Atmos. Sci.,45, 506–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Legecks, R. (1988): Upwelling off the gulfs of Panama and Pagagayo in the tropical Pacific during March 1985.J. Geophys. Res.,93, 15485–15489.Google Scholar
  20. Liu, W. T. (1986): Statistical relation between monthly mean precipitable water and surface-level humidity over global oceans.Mon. Weather Rev.,114, 1591–1602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liu, W. T. and C. Gautier (1990): Thermal forcing on the tropical Pacific from satellite data.J. Geophys. Res.,95, 13209–13217.Google Scholar
  22. Liu, W. T., A. Zhang and K. B. Bishop (1994): Evaporation and solar irradiance as regulators of sea surface temperature in annual and interannual changes.J. Geophys. Res.,99, 12623–12637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lukas, R. and E. Lindstrom (1991): The mixed later of the western equatorial Pacific ocean.J. Geophys. Res.,96, Suppl., 3343–3357.Google Scholar
  24. McClain, E. P., W. G. Pichel and C. C. Walton (1985): Comparative performance of AVHRR-based multichannel sea surface temperatures.J. Geophys. Res.,90, 11587–11601.Google Scholar
  25. McPhaden, M. J. (1982): Variability in the central equatorial Indian Ocean part I: ocean dynamics.J. Mar. Res.,40, 157–176.Google Scholar
  26. McPhaden, M. J. and S. P. Hayes (1991): On the variability of winds, sea surface temperature, and surface layer heat content in the western equatorial Pacific.J. Geophys. Res.,96, 3331–3342.Google Scholar
  27. McPhaden, M. J., H. P. Freitag, S. P. Hayes, B. A. Taft and K. Wyrtki (1988): The response of the equatorial Pacific ocean to a westerly wind burst in May 1986.J. Geophys. Res.,93, 10589–10603.Google Scholar
  28. McPhaden, M. J., S. P. Hayes, L. J. Mangum and J. M. Toole (1990): Variability in the western equatorial Pacific ocean during the 1986–87 El Niño/Southern Oscillation event.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,20, 190–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McPhaden, M. J., F. Bahr, Y. Du Penhoat, E. Firing, S. P. Hayes, P. P. Niiler, P. L. Richardson and J. M. Toole (1992): The response of the western equatorial Pacific ocean to westerly wind bursts during November 1989 to January 1990.J. Geophys. Res.,97, 14289–14303.Google Scholar
  30. Meehl, G. A. (1987): The annual cycle and interannual variability in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.Mon. Weather Rev.,115, 27–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meehl, G. A. (1993): A Coupled air-sea biennial mechanism in the tropical Indian and Pacific regions: role of the ocean.J. Climate,6, 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Miyama, T., T. Awaji, K. Akitomo and N. Imasato (1995): Study of seasonal transport variations in the Indonesian seas.J. Geophys. Res.,100, 20517–20541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Moura, A. D. and J. Shukla (1981): On the dynamics in northeast Brazil: observations, theory and numerical experiments with a general circulation model.J. Atmos. Sci.,38, 2653–2675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Murakami, T., B. Wang and S. W. Lyons (1992): Constants between summer monsoons over the bay of Bengal and the eastern north Pacific.J. Meteor. Soc. Japan,70, 191–210.Google Scholar
  35. Murray, S. P. and D. Arief (1988): Throughflow into the Indian ocean through the Lombok Strait, January 1985–Juanuary 1986.Nature,333, 444–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nykjær, L. and L. van Camp (1994): Seasonal and internnual variability of coastal upwelling along northwest Africa and Portugal from 1981 to 1991.J. Geophys. Res.,99, 14197–14207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rasmusson, E. M. and T. H. Carpenter (1982): Variations in tropical sea surface temperature and surface wind fields associated with the southern oscillation/El Niño.Mon. Weather Rev.,10, 354–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ropelewski, C. F., M. S. Halpert and X. Wang (1992): Observed tropospheric biennial variability and its relationship to the southern oscillation.J. Climate,5, 594–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Semtner, A. J. and R. M. Chelvin (1992): Ocean general circulation from a global eddy—resolving model.J. Geophys. Res.,97, 5493–5550.Google Scholar
  40. Servain, J. (1991): Simple climatic indices for the tropical Atlantic Ocean and some applications.J. Geophys. Res.,96, 15137–15146.Google Scholar
  41. Shinoda, T. and R. Lukas (1995): Lagrangian mixed layer modeling of the western equatorial Pacific.J. Geophys. Res.,100, 2523–2541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Siedler, G., N. Zangenberg and R. Onken (1992): Seasonal changes in the tropical Atlantic circulation: observation and simulation of the Guinea Dome.J. Geophys. Res.,97, 703–715.Google Scholar
  43. Smith, S. D. (1980): Wind stress and heat flud over the ocean in gale force winds.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,10, 709–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sprintall, J. and M. J. McPhaden (1994): Surface layer variations observed in multiyear time series measurements from the western equatorial Pacific.J. Geophys. Res.,99, 963–979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stramma, L. (1992): The South Indian Ocean Current.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,22, 421–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Umatami, S. and T. Yamagata (1991): Response of the eastern tropical Pacific to meridional migration of the ITCZ: The generation of the Costa Roca dome.J. Phys. Oceanogr.,21, 346–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Waliser, D. E., B. Blanke, J. D. Neelin and C. Gautier (1994): Shortwave feedbacks and El Niño-Southern Oscillation: forced ocean and coupled ocean-atmosphere experiments.J. Geophys. Res.,99, 25109–25125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang, X. L. (1994): The coupling of the annual cycle and ENSO over the tropical Pacific.J. Atmos. Sci.,51, 1115–1136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Weare, B. (1977): Empirical orthogonal analysis of Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures.Quart. J. R. Met. Soc.,103, 467–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zebiak, S. E. (1993): Air-sea interaction in the equatorial Atlantic region.J. Climate,6, 1567–1586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhang, G. J. and M. J. McPhaden (1995): The relationship between sea surface temperature and latent heat flux in the equatorial Pacific.J. Climate,8, 589–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zhang, R. H. and M. Endoh (1994): Simulation of the 1986–87 El Niño events with a free surface tropical Pacific Ocean general circulation model.J. Geophys. Res.,99, 7743–7759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Oceanographic Society of Japan 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masanori Konda
    • 1
  • Norihisa Imasato
    • 1
  • Akira Shibata
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Division of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Meteorological Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

Personalised recommendations