. Earth Science News .

El Nino and the Tropical Eastern Pacific Annual Cycle Run to the Same Beat
by Staff Writers
Manoa HI (SPX) Sep 23, 2011

File image.

Phase synchronization is a phenomenon in which separate oscillatory systems develop joint coherent behavior by some nonlinear mechanism. First described in 1673 by Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, this phenomenon occurs for instance when an applauding audience suddenly starts to clap in unison or when human breathing patterns lock to multiples of the heart beat.

Two climate modes dominate the temperature variability in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Generated through air-sea interactions, the El Nino-Southern Oscillation is the tropical Pacific climate mode that disrupts weather patterns world wide about every 2 to 7 years.

The seasonal cycle of temperatures off Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands emerges through coupled air-sea interactions in response to off-equatorial solar radiation and can vary substantially from yearto- year in amplitude and phase with respect to the calendar, depending on the state of the El Nino system.

The interaction between El Nino events and the seasonal cycle of sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific can be described through such a nonlinear phase synchronization mechanism, according to a study published in the September issue of Physical Review Letters by University of Hawai`i Manoa (UHM) PhD student Karl Stein and by Axel Timmermann and Niklas Schneider, professors at the International Pacific Research Center and the Department of Oceanography, UHM.

The team of climate scientists analyzed decades of temperature observations to detect evidence for phase synchronization among these two dominant tropical climate modes. Their extensive and complex mathematical computations showed that El Nino events and the annual temperature cycle in the eastern equatorial Pacific synchronize their common dynamics in what scientists call a "2:1 Arnold Tongue," after the famous Russian mathematician Vladimir Arnold (1937-2010).

This partial synchronization indicates that at certain times El Nino and the annual cycle run according to the same beat, while at other times the phases of the two climate modes "slip past" each other.

The newly discovered sporadic phase-locking behavior of El Nino and the annual cycle will have significant impacts on current understanding of the seasonal predictability of large El Nino events. The scientists are eager to test how well state-of-the art climate models reproduce the nonlinear interaction between these two dominant modes of climate variability.

Related Links
University of Hawai`i Manoa (UHM)
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

50-million-year-old clam shells provide indications of future of El Nino phenomenon
Bremerhaven, Germany (SPX) Sep 22, 2011
Earth warming will presumably not lead to a permanent El Nino state in the South Pacific Ocean. This is the conclusion drawn by an international team of researchers after it investigated 50-million-year-old clam shells and wood from the Antarctic. The growth rings of these fossils indicate that there was also a climate rhythm over the South Pacific during the last prolonged interglacial ph ... read more

Deaths From Extreme Weather Events Have Fallen 98 Percent Since the 1920s

Insurance market Lloyd's dives into red on catastrophes

Traces of Japan nuclear fallout in California rainwater

Haiti seeks greater local role in rebuilding

NASA says satellite will hit Earth Sept 23 US time

Ariane 5 launches SES-2 satellite with chirp hosted payload on board

PlusComms to Create a Global Space Network

NASA to Demonstrate Communications Via Laser Beam

Myanmar stands firm on Myitsone dam

El Nino and the Tropical Eastern Pacific Annual Cycle Run to the Same Beat

Aquarius Yields NASA's First Global Map of Ocean Salinity

Researchers chance viewing of river cutoff forming provides rare insight

Model provides successful seasonal forecast for the fate of Arctic sea ice

Putin touts Arctic Northeast passage

Understanding methane's seabed escape

Arctic sea ice reaches minimum 2011 extent

If insurance companies pay out too often farmers will be threatened with ruin

Paraguay outbreak threatens farms, jobs

Philippines eats, sells biodiversity riches

Ugandans displaced by UK company landgrab: Oxfam

Tropical Storm Ophelia forms, heads toward Caribbean

Hurricane Hilary strengthens off Mexico's Pacific

Two million sick from Pakistan floods

Himalayan villagers tell of quake chaos, 110 dead

Sierra Leone army chief urges political impartiality

China to build $439-million housing complex in Mozambique

Niger seeks help over Libya arms fallout

No US-China arms sales race in Africa: US general

Researchers use genome sequences to peer into early human history

Continents influenced human migration, spread of technology

CT study of early humans reveals evolutionary relationships

Serotonin levels affect the brain's response to anger

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement