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  • Ao, El Nino, La Nina, Nao - Definitions


    1) El Nino

    El Niño is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather and climate around the globehttp://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/el-nino-story.html

    2) La Nina

    La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, compared to El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.


    3) NAO(North Atlantic Oscillation)

    One of the most prominent teleconnection patterns in all seasons is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) (Barnston and Livezey 1987). The NOA combines parts of the East-Atlantic and West Atlantic patterns originally identified by Wallace and Gutzler (1981) for the winter season. The NAO consists of a north-south dipole of anomalies, with one center located over Greenland and the other center of opposite sign spanning the central latitudes of the North Atlantic between 35°N and 40°N. The positive phase of the NAO reflects below-normal heights and pressure across the high latitudes of the North Atlantic and above-normal heights and pressure over the central North Atlantic, the eastern United States and western Europe. The negative phase reflects an opposite pattern of height and pressure anomalies over these regions. Both phases of the NAO are associated with basin-wide changes in the intensity and location of the North Atlantic jet stream and storm track, and in large-scale modulations of the normal patterns of zonal and meridional heat and moisture transport (Hurrell 1995), which in turn results in changes in temperature and precipitation patterns often extending from eastern North America to western and central Europe (Walker and Bliss 1932, van Loon and Rogers 1978, Rogers and van Loon 1979).


    NAO definition

    The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a large-scale mode (i.e., pattern) of natural climate variability that has important impacts on the weather and climate of the North Atlantic region and surrounding continents, especially Europe. Although the NAO occurs in all seasons, it is during winter that it is particularly dominant, and therefore the focus of this information sheet is on the December to March period.



    4) AO(Arctic Oscillation)

    The AO is the dominant pattern of non-seasonal sea-level pressure (SLP) variations north of 20N, and it is characterized by SLP anomalies of one sign in the Arctic and anomalies of opposite sign centered about 37-45N. Additional information is available for the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and for the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a close relative of the AO.


    John Holmes

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