Journal article Open Access

Indices of El Niño Evolution

Trenberth, Kevin E.; Stepaniak, David P.

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  "DOI": "10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014<1697:lioeno>;2", 
  "author": [
      "family": "Trenberth, Kevin E."
      "family": "Stepaniak, David P."
  "issued": {
    "date-parts": [
  "abstract": "To characterize the nature of El Ni\u00f1o\u2013Southern Oscillation (ENSO), sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in different regions of the Pacific have been used. An optimal characterization of both the distinct character and the evolution of each El Ni\u00f1o or La Ni\u00f1a event is suggested that requires at least two indices: (i) SST anomalies in the Ni\u00f1o-3.4 region (referred to as N3.4), and (ii) a new index termed here the Trans-Ni\u00f1o Index (TNI), which is given by the difference in normalized anomalies of SST between Ni\u00f1o-1+2 and Ni\u00f1o-4 regions. The first index can be thought of as the mean SST throughout the equatorial Pacific east of the date line and the second index is the gradient in SST across the same region. Consequently, they are approximately orthogonal. TNI leads N3.4 by 3 to 12 months prior to the climate shift in 1976/77 and also follows N3.4 but with opposite sign 3 to 12 months later. However, after 1976/77, the sign of the TNI leads and lags are reversed.\n\nCorresponding author address: Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307.", 
  "title": "Indices of El Ni\u00f1o Evolution", 
  "type": "article-journal", 
  "id": "1234669"
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