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Detection of the Eastern Edge of the Equatorial Pacific Warm Pool Using Satellite-Based Ocean Color Observations,


C. Maes, Sudre, J. and Garçon, V.,

SOLA, Vol. 6, pp.129-132, doi:10.2151/sola.2010-033.


The analysis of satellite-based ocean color data shows that low concentrations of surface chlorophyll-a (chl-a) found in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean varies in phase with the eastern edge of the warm pool. As is true for high sea surface temperatures, the existence and maintenance of these low concentrations are linked to the upper ocean stratification due to salinity. The present study also establishes the quasi permanence of a frontal zone in chlorophyll-a separating the regimes of the western region and the eastern-central cold tongue and, through the identification of this front in satellite-based ocean color data, it provides, for the first time, a reliable method for locating the eastern edge of the warm pool from surface observations only. Finally, the recognition of this front offers the opportunity to define a simple and robust index of the horizontal extension of the equatorial Pacific warm pool within the context of the ENSO variability.


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