11.5 The Complex Behavior of El Niño Winter 2015-2016

Thursday, 29 June 2017: 9:30 AM
Salon G-I (Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront)
Natalia Calvo, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; and F. M. Palmeiro, M. Iza, D. Barriopedro, and R. Garcia-Herrera

This study examines the outstanding characteristics of the strong 2015-2016 El Niño (EN) winter and its impact over the European region through the stratosphere. Despite being classified as a strong Eastern Pacific (EP) EN event, our analysis reveals an anomalous behavior, with some signatures that are more typical of Central Pacific (CP) EN events instead. They include: i) a record-breaking value of the CP index; ii) a stronger polar vortex in early and mid-winter, due to reduced upward wave activity and a weakened Aleutian low; iii) the occurrence of one of the earliest Stratospheric Final Warmings (SFWs) on record, which are more prone to occur during CP-EN. Following the SFW, a stratospheric influence on the Euro-Atlantic sector is reported in spring, with persistent Greenland blocking resulting in extreme precipitation over some southern European regions. Results highlight the importance of considering early SFWs as mediators of El Niño teleconnections.
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