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Interannual variations in global SST deviations through SMMR from 1978 to 1987

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We study variability of global sea surface temperature (SST) utilizing the data of scanning multichannel microwave radiometer (SMMR) on board the NASA Nimbus 7 satellite from 1978 to 1987. First, we model, and then remove from the SMMR SST data, the seasonal cycle by using an intercept, a trend and first five harmonics of the annual cycle to fit the data at each grid point by the method of least squares. A general negative nine-year trend was observed. In order to analyse the deviations in the global SSTs, we calculate and remove zonally averaged temperatures. We then show Hoffmueller diagrams for the deviations along paths in different oceanic regions over the globe. These paths include a quadrangle in the south Pacific and paths in the north Pacific, Atlantic and along the equatorial Pacific. Both 1983 and 1987 El Niño events as well as the 1984–85 La Niña event are clearly depicted. During these events, the SSTs in the equatorial Pacific and Atlantic are completely out of phase. We also demonstrate spatial propagation of SST waves over interannual scales. In particular, a wave of a period of about 3–4 years following the North Pacific Current will be shown.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Vermont, Bington, VT 05401, USA 2: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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