Tropical Pacific basin-wide adjustment and oceanic waves

Soon Il An, In Sik Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the basin-wide adjustment process associated with El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in terms of oceanic waves using the Cane-Zebiak model. The Rossby waves induce not only the meridional mass divergence in the ocean interior but also the incoming zonal mass flux at the western boundary, which generally overcompensates the interior meridional divergence. Therefore, the Rossby waves alone cannot make a negative feedback. However, the outgoing zonal mass flux associated with the reflected Kelvin wave at the western boundary reduces the incoming boundary mass flux associated with the Rossby waves, resulting in the tendency of equatorial basin- wide heat content varying in phase with the meridional divergence. Also shown is that the nonequilibrium adjustment of the tropical Pacific Ocean is mainly due to the free Kelvin waves reflected at the western boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3975-3978
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Oct 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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