El NiñO and Related Variability in Sea-Surface Temperature Along the Central California Coast

  1. David H. Peterson
  1. Laurence C. Breaker

Published Online: 23 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM055p0133

Aspects of Climate Variability in the Pacific and the Western Americas

Aspects of Climate Variability in the Pacific and the Western Americas

How to Cite

Breaker, L. C. (1989) El NiñO and Related Variability in Sea-Surface Temperature Along the Central California Coast, in Aspects of Climate Variability in the Pacific and the Western Americas (ed D. H. Peterson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM055p0133

Author Information

  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Servicenational Meteorological Center, Camp Springs, Md

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900728

Online ISBN: 9781118664285

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • Climatic changes—Pacific Area.;
  • Paleoclimatology—Pacific Area.;
  • Climatic changes—West (U.S.);
  • Paleoclimatology—West (U.S.);
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Summary

Sea-surface temperature along the central California coast ontains interannual variability primarily associated with El Niño episodes. Sea-surface temperatures at Granite Canyon from 1971 to 1985 reveal four periods of sea-surface warming which coincide with tropical El Niño occurrences. El Niño related increases in sea-surface temperature at Granite Canyon are examined using two-way layouts of the monthly means and standard deviations, an anomaly analysis, and empirical orthogonal functions. These techniques were well-suited to the task of isolating and enhancing the El Niño influence. Two-way layouts of the monthly means and standard deviations, the mean annual anomaly for the El Niño years, and empirical orthogonal functions indicate that El Niño related warming is seasonal, being strongest in the fall and winter and weakest during the spring. Analysis of shorter term variability suggests that a recently discovered 40- to 50-day oscillation in sea-surface temperature along central California, and spring transitions to coastal upwelling may be related to, or at least influenced by, El Niño episodes at mid-latitudes. Finally, sea-surface temperatures at Pacific Grove, inside Monterey Bay, are not as representative of oceanic conditions along central California as are the observations acquired at Granite Canyon. However, sea-surface temperature at Pacific Grove is a useful indicator of events and processes that occur in and around Monterey Bay.