ACS  Vol.3 No.4 , October 2013
The Energy Cycle Associated to the Pacific Walker Circulation and Its Relationship to ENSO
ABSTRACT

In this paper we study the Lorenz energy cycle of the Walker circulation associated with ENSO. The robust formulation of the energetics allows drawing a clear picture of the global energy and conversion terms associated with the three dimensional domains appropriate to qualify the large scale transfers that influence, and are influenced by, the anomalies during ENSO. A clear picture has emerged in that El Nino and La Nina years have approximately opposite anomalous energy fluxes, regardless of a non-linear response identified in the potential energy fields (zonal and eddy). During El Ninos the tropical atmosphere is characterized by an increase of zonal available potential energy, decrease of eddy available potential energy and decrease of kinetic energy fields. This results in weaker upper level jets and a slowingdown of the overall Walker cell. During La Ninas reversed conditions are triggered, with an acceleration of the Walker cell as observed from the positive anomalous kinetic energy. The potential energy in the Walker circulation domain during the cold phase is also reduced. An equally opposite behavior is also experienced by the energy conversion terms according to the ENSO phase. The energetics-anomalous behavior seem to be triggered at about the same time when ENSO starts to manifest for both the positive and negative phases, suggesting a coupled mechanism in which atmospheric and oceanic anomalies interact and feed back onto each other.


Cite this paper
J. Veiga, A. Pezza, T. Ambrizzi, V. Rao, S. Franchito and M. Yoshida, "The Energy Cycle Associated to the Pacific Walker Circulation and Its Relationship to ENSO," Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 627-642. doi: 10.4236/acs.2013.34065.
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