Marine Science Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


[1] The timing and magnitude of the 2002–2003 El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) warm episode has been monitored for the first time with near real time satellite-derived surface current (SC) fields in addition to the operational temperature, wind and sea level satellite and in situ measurements previously used. The record of the past decade shows that dominant SC anomalies generally lead ENSO sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies by 2.5–3 months, and that a rapid SC anomaly reversal has coincided with the peak SST of warm events. During September to December 2002, SST anomalies increased and spread eastward in conjunction with strong, sustained eastward SC anomalies that began in July. The SC anomaly peaked in early October, followed by a sharp decrease in November and December to negative values in January. This was much like the SC sequence during the same months of the 1997–1998 El Niño when the SST anomaly peaked in December 1997. The recent SST anomalies were maximum in November 2002 and declined thereafter. These SC and SST trends signify that the present warm event has peaked and SST anomalies will continue to decline in early 2003.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Geophysical Research Letters, v. 30, issue 10, art. 1514

©2003. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons