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Open AccessArticle

Role of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Events on Temperature and Salinity Variability in the Agulhas Leakage Region

School of the Earth, Ocean, and Environment, University of South Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10010127
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Sea Surface Temperature Retrievals from Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

This study explores the relationship between the Agulhas Current system and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Specifically, it addresses monthly to yearly variations in Agulhas leakage where the Agulhas Current sheds waters into the Atlantic Ocean, in turn affecting meridional overturning circulation (MOC). Sea surface temperature (SST) data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) combined with sea surface salinity (SSS) from Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) reanalysis are used to explore changes in Agulhas leakage dynamics. Agulhas leakage is anomalously warm in response to El Niño and anomalously cool in response to La Niña. The corresponding SSS signal shows both a primary and secondary signal response. At first, the SSS signal of Agulhas leakage is anomalously fresh in response to El Niño, but this primary signal is replaced by a secondary anomalously saline signal. In response to La Niña, the primary SSS signal of Agulhas leakage is anomalously saline, while the secondary SSS signal is anomalously fresh. The lag between the peak of ENSO and the response in SST and the corresponding primary SSS signal of Agulhas leakage is about 20 months, followed by the secondary SSS signal at a lag of about 26 months. In general, increasing ENSO strength increases the extremes of the resulting anomalous SST and SSS signal and impacts the Agulhas leakage region earlier during El Niño and slightly later during La Niña. View Full-Text
Keywords: Agulhas Current; Indian Ocean; sea surface temperature; sea surface salinity; El Niño Southern Oscillation; Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA); Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS); Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Agulhas Current; Indian Ocean; sea surface temperature; sea surface salinity; El Niño Southern Oscillation; Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA); Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS); Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Paris, M.L.; Subrahmanyam, B. Role of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Events on Temperature and Salinity Variability in the Agulhas Leakage Region. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 127.

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