Sea surface chlorophyll signature in the tropical Pacific during eastern and central Pacific ENSO events

Marie-Hélène Radenac 1, * Fabien Léger 1 Awnesh Singh 1 Thierry Delcroix 1
* Corresponding author
1 OLVAC - Océan du Large et Variabilité Climatique
LEGOS - Laboratoire d'études en Géophysique et océanographie spatiales
Abstract : Recent analyses of physical measurements show the existence of a Central Pacific type of El Niño (CPEN) with a sea surface temperature warming pattern distinct from that of the "classical" Eastern Pacific El Niño (EPEN). In this study, we analyze the surface chlorophyll signature of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), using monthly maps of satellite-derived chlorophyll anomalies between September 1997 and December 2010. We identify five typical ENSO structures. The first structure describes the lonely 1997-1998 EPEN of the period, the second and third represent La Niña, the fourth illustrates intermediate conditions, and the fifth characterizes CPEN. During the 1997-1998 EPEN, a large eastward shift of the oligotrophic warm pool and a reduction of equatorial upwelling result in negative chlorophyll anomalies east of 170°E between 10°S and 10°N. During the four CPEN events, a reduced eastward shift yields negative chlorophyll anomalies in the equatorial band, within about 160°E and 160°W only. Westward surface current in the central basin limits the expansion of the anomaly core. Negative chlorophyll anomalies that extend eastward from the equatorial anomaly core probably result from reduced upward iron fluxes linked to the deepening of the Equatorial Undercurrent. During La Niña, the westward expansion of the equatorial upwelling results in positive chlorophyll anomalies west of the date line. Away from the equatorial band, advection of oligotrophic warm pool waters by enhanced eastward countercurrents drives negative anomalies within 8-10°N and towards the Marquesas Islands during CPEN, while reduced countercurrents leads to positive chlorophyll anomaly during La Niña.
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Marie-Hélène Radenac, Fabien Léger, Awnesh Singh, Thierry Delcroix. Sea surface chlorophyll signature in the tropical Pacific during eastern and central Pacific ENSO events. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 2012, 117 (C04007), 15 p. ⟨10.1029/2011JC007841⟩. ⟨ird-00695543⟩

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