• southern hemispheric circulation;
  • teleconnection;
  • Ferrel cell;
  • sea ice;
  • ENSO


The linkages between the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the sea ice extent (SIE) in the Weddell Sea (South Atlantic) and the Bellingshausen–Amundsen Sea (South-Eastern Pacific) sectors of the Southern Ocean have been studied for the period 1979–2005 using crosswavelet analysis. The analysis showed that the relationship between the tropical expression of ENSO and the SIE in these two areas are different before and after 1992. Further, we investigated the structure and strength of the regional Ferrel cell (RFC) during El Niño and La Niña episodes using composite latitude–pressure cross-sections of wind anomalies for these two periods. Contrasting features were observed in the structure and strength of the RFC before and after 1992 in both, the South Atlantic and the South-Eastern Pacific. These modulations in the RFC control the heat transport from the tropics to high latitudes and hence the extent of sea ice in both the regions. We propose that the modulation of the RFC is responsible for the phase shift in the tropical–polar teleconnection. Copyright © 2012 Royal Meteorological Society