7th International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography


Rainfall anomalies in western South America and the traditional "El Niņo" versus "ENSO"

Chet F. Ropelewski, International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, Palisades, NY; and B. Lyon and M. Bell

The traditional meaning of "El Niņo", or warming of the waters along the west coast of equatorial South America, has come to be associated with the global El Niņo/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) both in the popular literature and in some of the scientific literature. Because ENSO is related to global teleconnection patterns it commands worldwide interest and concern. However, the local "El Niņo remains of great local importance and concern. Notable recent examples are the heavy "El Niņo" rain in Ecuador and Peru early in 2001 and again in 2002 before the development of the basin-scale ENSO. In 1998, in contrast, the west coast of South America experienced heavy "El Niņo-like" spring rains while a full-fledged cold episode was building in the central basin. This paper examines the relationship between excess rainfall along the west coast of South America in the context of prediction and predictability of "local SSTs and rainfall" versus the prediction and predictability of basin-scale ENSO events.

Session 11, The Southern Hemisphere oceans and air-sea interactions II
Wednesday, 26 March 2003, 10:30 AM-1:30 PM

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