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Sun, D. Z., and K. E. Trenberth, 1998: Coordinated heat removal from the equatorial Pacific during the 1986-87 El Niño. Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 2659-2662.


Utilizing radiation data from Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), circulation statistics from NCEP reanalysis, and assimilated ocean data for the tropical Pacific basin, we show that the surface ocean warming during the 1986-87 El Niño is not only accompanied by significant increases in the cloud reflection of the solar radiation, but also by marked increases in the poleward energy transport in both the atmosphere and ocean. Measured over the equatorial region, the feedback from the ocean dynamics is twice as large as from the atmospheric dynamics which in turn is twice as large as the feedback from the cloud albedo. The three feedbacks constitute a strong regulatory effect upon the equatorial SST. The results reveal a prominent role of El Niño in the heat removal from the equatorial Pacific.