Untangling El Niño-La Niña Asymmetries Using a Nonlinear Coupled Dynamic Index

Soong Ki Kim, Soon Il An

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The linear recharge oscillator model for the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was expanded to a nonlinear model, thus allowing identification of a nonlinear dynamic ENSO index. This index was applied for a dynamic examination of the El Niño-La Niña asymmetry. Here, the nonlinear physical processes including the nonlinear dynamical heating were implemented into the linear recharge oscillator model in the form of quadratic nonlinearity. This nonlinear recharge oscillator model revealed that nonlinear (linear) physical processes play a critical role in the long-term ENSO skewness (amplitude) changes quantitatively. Particularly, the large part of the long-term ENSO skewness change could be explained by the quadratic nonlinearity associated with the nonlinear ocean dynamical heating, which is closely related to change in mean thermocline. This research provides a unified framework to understand better the past-present-future ENSO changes by applying the interdecadal change dynamics on a low hierarchical level.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2019GL085881
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 28

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korea government (NRF-2017R1A2A2A05069383 and NRF-2018R1A5A1024958). Authors appreciate data providers including ERSSTv5 (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/data.noaa.ersst.v5.html) and SODAv2.2.4 (http://sodaserver.tamu.edu/assim/SODA_2.2.4/).

Publisher Copyright:
©2020. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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