California Niño/Niña

Sci Rep. 2014 Apr 25;4:4801. doi: 10.1038/srep04801.

Abstract

The present study shows the existence of intrinsic coastal air-sea coupled phenomenon in the coastal ocean off Baja California and California in boreal summer for the first time. It contributes significantly to the interannual sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies there. An initial decrease/increase in the equatorward alongshore surface winds weakens/strengthens the coastal upwelling and raises/lowers the coastal SSTs through oceanic mixed-layer processes. The resultant coastal warming/cooling, in turn, heats/cools the overlying atmosphere anomalously, decreases/increases the atmospheric pressure in the lower troposphere, generates an anomalous cross-shore pressure gradient, and thus reinforces or maintains the alongshore surface wind anomalies. The regional air-sea coupled phenomenon seems to be analogous to the well-known El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropical Pacific but with much smaller time and space scales, and may be referred to as California Niño/Niña in its intrinsic sense.