Climate Dynamics

, Volume 40, Issue 1–2, pp 109–121 | Cite as

El Niño-Southern Oscillation impacts on winter winds over Southern California

  • Neil BergEmail author
  • Alex Hall
  • Scott B. Capps
  • Mimi Hughes


Changes in wintertime 10 m winds due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation are examined using a 6 km resolution climate simulation of Southern California covering the period from 1959 through 2001. Wind speed statistics based on regional averages reveal a general signal of increased mean wind speeds and wind speed variability during El Niño across the region. An opposite and nearly as strong signal of decreased wind speed variability during La Niña is also found. These signals are generally more significant than the better-known signals in precipitation. In spite of these regional-scale generalizations, there are significant sub-regional mesoscale structures in the wind speed impacts. In some cases, impacts on mean winds and wind variability at the sub-regional scale are opposite to those of the region as a whole. All of these signals can be interpreted in terms of shifts in occurrences of the region’s main wind regimes due to the El Niño phenomenon. The results of this study can be used to understand how interannual wind speed variations in regions of Southern California are influenced by the El Niño phenomenon.


ENSO Near-surface winds Regional climate 



This work was funded by a grant to the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative by the US Department of Energy through the City and County of Los Angeles. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticism of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Berg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alex Hall
    • 1
  • Scott B. Capps
    • 1
  • Mimi Hughes
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences DivisionNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationBoulderUSA

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