The Appearance of Sustained Equatorial Surface Westerlies During the 1982 Pacific Warm Event

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Science  08 Jun 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4653, pp. 1099-1102
DOI: 10.1126/science.224.4653.1099


In June 1982 a band of anomalous southerly surface wind, extending from the equator as far south as the Tasman Sea, formed east of Australia (150°E to 160°E). This flow crossed the equator just before the appearance of sustained westerly winds on the equator somewhat west of the date line. Because these westerly winds induced the initial strong equatorial warming of the ocean east of the date line during the 1982 El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, the southerly jet appears to be an important atmospheric component leading to the onset of the vigorous phase of this event. Some historical evidence suggests that anomalous southerly winds in the same region occurred prior to the appearance of sustained equatorial westerly winds in the major ENSO events of 1957, 1965, and 1972.