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An Asymptotic Expansion for the Recharge–Discharge Model of ENSO

Thual, Sulian and Dewitte, Boris and Ayoub, Nadia and Thual, Olivier An Asymptotic Expansion for the Recharge–Discharge Model of ENSO. (2013) Journal of Physical Oceanography, 43 (7). 1407-1416. ISSN 1520-0485

(Document in English)

PDF (Author's version) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-12-0161.1


The dynamics of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are largely associated with the slow thermocline adjustment at interannual and basin scales. This adjustment involves, among other things, the fast propagation and reflection of equatorial waves by wind stress forcing. A simple and straightforward asymptotic expansion of the long-wave equations is proposed using the low-frequency approximation. The asymptotic expansion is performed in Fourier space, retaining only the gravest equatorial long waves and baroclinic modes with the largest scale, and considering small dissipation by friction and boundary reflections. This leads to an asymptotic model for the thermocline response to wind stress forcing, which is in essence the ocean component of the recharge–discharge model of ENSO. The asymptotic model is nonheuristic and in broad agreement with some essential results scattered in previous studies. Thermocline variability is divided into a sloping “Tilt mode” that adjusts instantly to wind stress forcing and a zonal-mean “Warm Water Volume mode” that adjusts as a time integrator to wind stress curl. The model has a plausible energy budget and its solutions are in good agreement with observations. Results suggest that the net adjustment rather than the explicit delays of equatorial waves is essential for the slow thermocline adjustment, and this is best described by the recharge–discharge model.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to American Meteorological Society editor. The original PDF of the article can be found at Journal of Physical Oceanography website : http://journals.ametsoc.org/loi/phoc
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:27 Sep 2013 12:29

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