Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

La Niña's Persistence May Be Part Of Larger Climate Pattern

Date:
January 20, 2000
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
A giant horseshoe pattern of higher than normal sea-surface heights developing over the last year is beginning to dominate the entire western Pacific and Asiatic oceans, new imagery from the U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon satellite shows. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., studying the new data believe these abnormally warm ocean temperatures, which contrast with a cool La Niña, may be part of a larger, longer-lasting climate pattern.

A giant horseshoe pattern of higher than normal sea-surface heights developing over the last year is beginning to dominate the entire western Pacific and Asiatic oceans, new imagery from the U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon satellite shows.

Related Articles


Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., studying the new data believe these abnormally warm ocean temperatures, which contrast with a cool La Niña, may be part of a larger, longer-lasting climate pattern.

The latest data, taken December 30, 1999 through January 8, 2000, show that this slower-developing condition covers most of the Pacific Ocean and has significant implications for global climate change, especially over North America, said Dr. William Patzert, an oceanographer at JPL.

"In contrast with the more spectacular but shorter duration El Niño and La Niña events, this multiple-year trend may be part of a decade-long pattern known as the 'Pacific decadal oscillation,'" Patzert said. "The persistence of these abnormally high and low Pacific sea-surface patterns, along with warmer and colder than average ocean temperatures, tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean."

Satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration clearly illustrate the pattern. Sea-surface temperatures, which directly affect the atmosphere on a daily basis, are available at http://psbsgi1.nesdis.noaa.gov:8080/PSB/EPS/SST/climo.html , and show the same warm and cool water patterns.

"These warmer and cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures influence our atmosphere every day, while sea- surface heights are a measure of how much heat is stored in the ocean below," Patzert said. "When you put these two pieces of the climate puzzle together, they will tell us both about what is influencing today's weather and how much heat is being stored in the ocean to fuel future planetary climate events."

The Pacific decadal oscillation waxes and wanes approximately every 20 to 30 years, alternating between its present phase, with a warm horseshoe pattern of higher than normal sea-surface heights connecting the north, west and southern Pacific, in contrast to a cool wedge of lower than normal sea-surface heights in the eastern equatorial Pacific. After that the Pacific switches to the opposite phase, showing a reversal of the warm and cool regions; the horseshoe becomes cool and the wedge warms.

The strength of this climate trend is seen in the current TOPEX/Poseidon satellite image, available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/elnino . Sea-surface height is shown relative to normal (green) height and reveals cooler water (blue and purple) measuring between 8 and 24 centimeters (3 and 9 inches) lower than normal along the coast of Central and South America, and stretching out into the equatorial Pacific. The giant horseshoe of warmer water (red and white) dominating the western and mid-latitude Pacific has higher than normal sea- surface heights of between 8 and 24 centimeters (3 and 9 inches). For the past year, warmer waters have been expanding slowly and are now beginning to dominate the western and north Pacific.

Although it is too early to definitively label these basin- wide conditions as a strong, multiple-year Pacific decadal oscillation, the current image suggests that simple labels or explanations such as a continuing La Niña/El Niño climate condition could be misleading, Patzert said. In the coming year, scientists using TOPEX/Poseidon data will continue to monitor the development of these conditions and their implications for climate in the next several years.

The U.S.-French TOPEX/Poseidon mission is managed JPL for the NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "La Niña's Persistence May Be Part Of Larger Climate Pattern." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000120073420.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2000, January 20). La Niña's Persistence May Be Part Of Larger Climate Pattern. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000120073420.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "La Niña's Persistence May Be Part Of Larger Climate Pattern." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000120073420.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins