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Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural and Resource Economics


The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a dominant source of global climate variability. The effects of this phenomenon alter the flow of heat from tropical to polar latitudes, resulting in weather and climate anomalies that are difficult to forecast. The current work quantified two components of the vertically integrated equation for the total energy content of an atmospheric column, to show the anomalous horizontal redistribution of surface heat flux anomalies. Symmetric and asymmetric components of the vertically integrated latent and sensible heat flux divergence were quantified using ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalysis output on 30 model layers between 1979 and 2016. Results indicate that asymmetry is a fundamental component of ENSO-induced weather and climate anomalies at the global scale, challenging the common assumption that each phase of ENSO is equal and opposite. In particular, a substantial asymmetric component was identified in the relationship between ENSO and patterns of extratropical climate variability that may be proportional to differences in sea surface temperature anomalies during each phase of ENSO. This work advances our understanding of the global distributions of source and sink regions, which may improve future predictions of ENSO-induced precipitation and surface temperature anomalies. Future studies should apply these methods to advance understanding and to validate predictions of ENSO-induced weather and climate anomalies.

Source Citation

Kutta, E., Hubbart, J., Eichler, T., & Lupo, A. (2018). Symmetry of Energy Divergence Anomalies Associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Atmosphere, 9(9), 342.


  1. © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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