Teleconnections in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean

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Science  06 Apr 1973:
Vol. 180, Issue 4081, pp. 66-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4081.66


Geostrophic water transport by the equatorial countercurrent is compared with the observed sea level difference between two pairs of islands situlated north and south of the current. The high correlation between the transport and the sea level difference makes it possible to construct a time series for the countercurrent transport over a 21-year period. The countercurrent carries warm water into the eastern tropical Pacific, and fluctuations in its strength give rise to temperature anomalies off Central America. Periods of exceptionally high transport by the countercurrent in the western Pacific coincide with the occurrence of El Niño several thousand kilometers downstream and demonstrate the existence of teleconnections between events in the Pacific Ocean.

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