Evolution features of the surface latent heat flux anomalies over the tropical Pacific associated with two types of ENSO events

Original Paper


The present study investigates the features of the surface latent heat flux (LHF) anomalies and their related variables over the tropical Pacific during two types of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and seeks a possible candidate for the main contributions to the LHF anomalies. During El Niño Modoki and canonical El Niño events, the LHFs show positive anomalies over the equatorial central Pacific and in the areas immediately south of the equatorial eastern Pacific. In addition, the largest magnitudes and widest ranges of positive LHF anomalies for both types of events occur during their mature stages rather than during their developing or decaying phases. Analyses show that the positive LHF anomalies associated with both events are largely affected by the positive sea-air humidity difference anomalies. However, the negative surface wind speed anomalies associated with the canonical El Niño events clearly contribute to the decreases in the positive LHF anomalies over the central Pacific and in the area immediately north of the equatorial eastern Pacific due to the presence of westerly and northerly anomalies, respectively. Moreover, over the equatorial central Pacific and in the area immediately south of the eastern Pacific, the LHF anomalies are mainly influenced by oceanic variables during both types of ENSO events, indicating an atmospheric response to oceanic forcing. In contrast, outside of the area spanning 10° north and south of the equator in the tropical Pacific and with the exception of the southeastern region, the LHF anomalies are greatly influenced by atmospheric variables, suggesting an oceanic response to atmospheric forcing. Distinct differences exist during the mature event phase, with oceanic forcing dominating the equatorial central Pacific during El Niño Modoki events and the area immediately south of the equatorial eastern Pacific during canonical El Niño events. In addition, both types of ENSO events suggest the increasing influence of oceanic forcing over the equatorial eastern Pacific during ENSO event evolutions.



This paper was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant no. 2016YFA0600603) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 41230527 and 41475053).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017
corrected publication October/2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Monsoon System Research, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Wenjiang District Meteorological BureauChengduChina
  3. 3.Chengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina

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