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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans

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Abstract/ Summary

We present the evolution of oceanographic conditions off the western coast of South America between 1996 and 1999, including the cold periods of 1996 and 1998-1999 and the 1997-1998 El Niño, using satellite observations of sea level, winds, sea surface temperature (SST), and chlorophyll concentration. Following a period of cold SST and low sea levels in 1996, both were anomalously high between March 1997 and May 1998. The anomalies were greatest between 5 degrees S and 15 degrees S, although they extended beyond 40 degrees S. Two distinct peaks in sea level and SST occurred in June-July 1997 and December 1997 to January 1998, separated by a relaxation period (August-November) of weaker anomalies. Satellite winds were upwelling favorable throughout the time period for most of the region and in fact increased between November 1997 and March 1998 between 5 degrees S and 25 degrees S. Satellite-derived chlorophyll concentrations are available for November 1996 to June 1997 (Ocean Color and Temperature Sensor (OCTS)) and then from October 1997 to present (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS)). Near-surface chlorophyll concentrations fell from May to June 1997 and from December 1997 to March 1998. The decrease was more pronounced in northern Chile than off the coast of Peru or central Chile and was stronger for larger cross-shelf averaging bins since nearshore concentrations remained relatively high.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Carr ME, Strub PT, Thomas AC, Blanco JL. Evolution of 1996-1999 La Niña and El Niño Conditions Off the Western Coast of South America: A Remote Sensing Perspective. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 2002;107: 3236. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

Publisher Statement

Copyright 2002 American Geophysical Union.




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