The moon and El Ninõ

Randall Cerveny, J. A. Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Regional climates around the world display cycles corresponding to the 18.61-year maximum lunar declination (MLD) periodicity. We suggest that these cycles are created by a relationship between MLD and El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Both equatorial Pacific sea-surface temperature and South Pacific atmospheric pressure significantly correlate with maximum lunar declination. Low MLDs are associated with warmer equatorial Pacific sea-surface temperatures and negative values of the Southern Oscillation Index. A lunar-influenced change in the Pacific gyre circulation presents a viable physical mechanism for explaining these relationships. We suggest that the gyre is enhanced by tidal forces under high MLDs, inducing cold-water advection into the equatorial region but is restricted by the weak tidal forcing of low MLDs thereby favoring El Niño episodes. An astronomical model utilizing this relationship produces a forecast of increased non-El Niño (either La Niña or neutral) activity for the early part of this decade.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages25-28
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

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el Nino
declination
natural satellites
gyre
El Nino
Moon
Southern Oscillation
sea surface temperature
astronomical models
La Nina
cold water
regional climate
atmospheric pressure
El Nino-Southern Oscillation
periodicity
advection
equatorial regions
cycles
forecasting
climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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The moon and El Ninõ. / Cerveny, Randall; Shaffer, J. A.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 28, No. 1, 01.01.2001, p. 25-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cerveny, Randall ; Shaffer, J. A. / The moon and El Ninõ. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2001 ; Vol. 28, No. 1. pp. 25-28.
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