Pacific atmospheric dynamics with and without a positive ENSO (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)

Pacific atmospheric dynamics with and without a positive ENSO (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1968.5521

In a previous post I discussed the implications from having a global system unstable, Heterogeneous  and in a state of non thermodynamic equilibrium (more here and here). Ultimately, such state of instability and non-equilibrium maintains active the energy flows keeping our global system from stalling. The main question is how much instability can become an issue for the zonification of our ecosystems and climatic regimes. And therefore, the repartition of resources, demands, availability, supply and consumption in order to accommodate the needs for the human specie, and ironically the last in priority, the rest of the life systems. Personally I believe that biological systems are the line of defence against changes in this balance which allow conditions suitable for our comfort. The state of this line of defence is what is coming into debate in the actual times. Not only to perform against changes but also to recover from them (more on this topic here).

El Niño is the warm phase of the ocean cycle known as El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO for short. La Niña is the cool phase. The pattern can shift back and forth every two to seven years.

The connections between this variations in Sea Surface Temperature and weather patterns is a matter of study. Even though the El Niño/La Niña phases have shown to follow some synchronism with weather patterns affecting South and North America, those patterns have not always matched with what it was expected.

Two scenarios have been broadly considered in order to explain the increase in SST and the “heat source” at the Pacific Equator.

One scenario broadly adopted is that a change in the atmospheric circulation at the equator induce an increase in intensity for the Westerlies pushing warm superficial sea water into Eastern latitudes (e.g. NOAA-TAO).

The influence of stronger Westerlies/weaker Easterlies pushing warm superficial water from the west-central Eq. Pacific into the East. In normal, non-El Niño conditions, the trade winds blow towards the west across the tropical Pacific. These winds pile up warm surface water in the west Pacific, so that the sea surface is about 1/2 meter higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador. The sea surface temperature is about 8 degrees C higher in the west, with cool temperatures off South America, due to an upwelling of cold water from deeper levels.

During El Niño, the trade winds relax in the central and western Pacific leading to a depression of the thermocline in the eastern Pacific, and an elevation of the thermocline in the west. This reduced the efficiency of upwelling to cool the surface and cut off the supply of nutrient rich thermocline water to the euphotic zone. The result was a rise in sea surface temperature towards the East Pacific. (from NOAA-TAO and

Such approach implies some major restrictions in the interpretations of previous and subsequent events. The major one I see is that it is accepted that the ENSO is a consequence of a change in atmospheric dynamics.  When considering the El Niño as a consequence of a variation in the configuration of winds (W/E) at the Eq. Pacific, any weather phenomena occurring in synchronism (including latency) with the ENSO is part of a chain reaction being originated before the positive ENSO is detected. And yet, studying the effect called “El Niño” it is diminished the approach of considering it as a consequence but it is given to it primary relevancy as a factor being a trigger. Furthermore, some other considerations have not been fully addressed yet as it is the implications carried from assuming that an increase in the strength of winds moving over superficial waters would have an increasing cooling effect over those same waters, like cooling of your soup with your breath.

Another scenario considered would be based on that the source of heat causing Eastern Pacific waters to become warmer comes from subsurface temperatures. But such claim can not explain changes in the trade winds and furthermore addresses changes in thermohialine circulation which has not been fully supported with data.

Consequently, in order to consider all those factors in my research and minimise unsupported assumptions I will keep considering that the weather phenomena occurring in synchronism (including latency) with the ENSO is part of a chain reaction being originated before the positive ENSO is detected.

Before I continue I have to make a small clarification. As independent researcher with limited resources I can not offer al the data required to support my arguments but it is an united effort from all the scientific community what it is needed and I am doing my part.

Considering that the changes in the trade winds is the key feature in the atmospheric circulation generating variability towards the ENSO, and subsequent weather patterns, I have based my research on observing atmospheric circulation since 2013. From my research I believe that the main mechanism driving atmospheric circulation at the NH and global scale, is the interaction between mid latitudes and Arctic circulation having the Polar Jet Stream as the main feature. In particular, the properties enforced into the air masses at Mid latitudes (Temperature, water content and molecular composition) at the North Hemisphere are directly drawn by the influence of evaporation over the Equator and gaseous emissions at Mid Latitudes. In order to absorb all incoming energy fluxes and matter compounds (Gaseous and aerosols) at mid Latitudes, the volume delimited by the Polar Jet Stream has to variate. Such impacts have shown to be at low latitudes through intrusions of warm masses of air coming across the barrier, and at high altitudes delivering events of Stratospheric Sudden Warming.

Such scenario would suggest that the Mid Latitudes have always been linked with the state of the trade winds. And their variable strength at the Equator would be related with their interactions with the Arctic circulation at higher latitudes and altitudes.

Increasing the thermal conductivity of the air masses contained at mid latitudes (due to GHGs) would increase convective power to move towards the Arctic and in altitude. As a pressure valve in an industrial system, such valve would open sporadically releasing pressure from the system when the conditions overwhelm the resistance to contain it.

As I have discussed in my previous post on Arctic circulation, I believe that such scenario has allowed a trans-Arctic connection between Atlantic and Pacific basins. Actual developments seen through February and March 2016 seem to keep supporting my previous assessments following this approach.

Arctic Dynamics Outtake_Intake Diego Fdez-Sevilla I



13March16 NAtl West Bound Turbulence Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Flight planning advisory graphics. Westbound turbulence over the North Atlantic 13th March 2016.

14March2016 Atmospheric conditions Atlantic Eumetsat Diego Fdez-Sevilla

14March2016 Atmospheric conditions Atlantic Eumetsat.

Pacific Circulation

On my previous publication on thermodynamics I have discussed their applications in assessing atmospheric circulation dynamics. In one of my assessments I suggested that the driving forces behind the positive phase of the ENSO during 2015 might have played an impact over the Pacific circulation by overstimulating Pacific atmospheric dynamics. Such over-stimulation would have induced a change from a two cell configuration seen over 2013, 2014 and summer 2015, with high activity on the Equatorial middle Pacific, into a single big cell dragging low systems from the West Pacific coast all the way into North America. (previous discussion here and here).

Previous positive ENSO. 2013-14 early 2105

Water vapour circulation globally 7th Sept 2015 DiegoFdezSevillaDuring Winter 2015/16 the Pacific circulation changed from a two cell configuration into a single big one.

Multi IR Global Dec 2015 Diego Fdez-Sevilla

My point of view over this situation is that this one cell pattern is the result from the two previous cells coalescing as consequence of the positive ENSO phase. But furthermore, I pointed out that I believe that with the return into neutral conditions the circulation at the Pacific will regain a pattern with two cell of atm rivers as those seen in 2013-14 (for more see my previous publications following this link).

One of the observations that I find relevant to support the idea of that the two cell configuration will comeback is the fact that the blocking patterns over California and the Atlantic have always been around since before and through the positive ENSO.

Blocking patterns 21 Jan 2016 By Diego Fdez-SevillaCurrent conditions vs previous

22 March 2016. NCEP/GFS Graphic representation of TPW by Nulschool

TPW 22 March 2016 Pacific by Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Previous conditions assessed throughout the research published in this blog.

NCEP/GFS Graphic representation of TPW by Nullschool

850hPa Wind TPW DiegoFdezSevilla

New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on October 21, 2014.


Post Water vapor 11 March 2015

Water vapour circulation globally 7th Sept 2015 DiegoFdezSevilla

Setting up the premises of this research.

The atmosphere in the Earth is at state of thermodynamic equilibrium (that is, maximum entropy) and therefore, the pressure from above and below any horizontal plane is equal“.

Is our system in thermodynamic equilibrium?

Thermodynamic equilibrium is the state of maximum entropy subject to the constraints of the system. In that state all unbalanced energy potentials have dissipated.

Energy potentials have not dissipated in the Earth system. As examples are the Polar Jet Stream and Stratospheric Sudden Warmings.

“Entropy is increasing if and only if unbalanced energy potentials are dissipating”.

My whole research is about that the differential in energy potentials at the atmosphere ARE dissipating, so entropy IS increasing. (here, here, here and here)

“There can be no transfer of energy or matter across any internal boundary when there is thermodynamic equilibrium.”

E and matter are being transferred across internal boundaries. That is where GHG emissions and increases in atmospheric Temperature become a key issue to be studied. Furthermore, constantly changing mixture of gases which do condensate in the atmosphere, Water vapour, and gases which do not condensate, GHGs, makes inappropriate to apply the Kinetic Theory of Gases considering a fixed number of molecules in an isolated system, behaving as an Ideal Gas.

Last comments

Our atmosphere (Earth) is not at state of thermodynamic equilibrium as well as density and pressure are not equal from above and below any horizontal plane. That is why we have weather systems like in no other planet.

CHART NCEP 20Jan2016 MSLP by Diego Fdez-SevillaSince 2002 I have performed research and written a thesis about the aerodynamics involved in small balls (pollen grains) bouncing through the atmosphere studying their transport and distribution and observing the stream lines pressure dependent which dictate most of their behaviour. So they are good indicators of the entropic state of the system in which they are embedded. From those studies and the research published through this blog, I can tell that boundary layers in the atmosphere due to differences in pressure (non isokinetic conditions) are dominant. Furthermore, the distribution of particle matter from a source only follows Gauss distribution under atmospheric stable conditions dictated by gravitational forces. Otherwise, there is no Gaussian distribution and it all depends on weather conditions, turbulence, etc. The atmosphere is defined by stream lines and pressure gradients all over the place describing a no equilibrium state.

Moreover, as Biologist, I would like to point out that the mere existence of a single cell exhibits a behaviour contradicting the 2nd thermodynamic law. A whole ecosystem of multicellular organisms multiply the strength of such force.

Earth is different from other planets because there is matter being introduced in the system by activities beyond geological processes. Biological activities are changing not only the absorption, emission and refraction (albedo) characteristics of the gaseous phase of the system interfering with equilibrium but also the absorption, emission and refraction (albedo) characteristics of the solid layer (surface) displacing the system from equilibrium.

When we face the question about how can the atmospheric temperature raise if we are at Thermodynamic equilibrium? The answer comes within the question. The system is not in thermodynamic equilibrium.

And therefore, it can not be applied the presumption of such state to determinate the behaviour of the data introduced to study its behaviour. More discussion here.

Copyright © 2016 by Diego Fdez-Sevilla — All Rights Reserved
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Research on Environmental Issues
Contact: d.fdezsevilla at


PerspectiveSince October 2013 I have been studying the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream and the weather events associated as well as the implications derived into atmospheric dynamics and environmental synergies.

Many of the atmospheric configurations and weather and climate events we see these days are very similar with the progression followed since 2013. Please take a look at posts addressing those events from previous publications in this blog or look at the categories in the top menu. Also at research-gate. Feedback is always welcomed either in this blog or at my email (d.fdezsevilla(at) All my work is part of my Intellectual Portfolio, registered under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, license and it is being implemented at my profile in researchgate. I will fight for its recognition in case of misuse.


About Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

The work here presented has no economic or institutional support. Please consider to make a donation to support the means for making sustainable the energy, time and resources required. Also any sponsor or mentor interested would be welcome. Intellectual Property This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Citing This Site: "Title", published online "Month"+"Year" retrieved on "Month""Day", "Year" from By Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD. Or by using its DOI at ResearchGate. More guidance on citing this web as a source can be found at NASA webpage:! DOIs can be generated on demand by request at email: d.fdezsevilla(at) for those publications missing at the ResearchGate profile vinculated with this project. **Author´s profile: Born in 1974. Bachelor in General Biology, Masters degree "Licenciado" in Environmental Sciences (2001, Spain). PhD in Aerobiology (2007, UK). Lived, acquired training and worked in Spain, UK, Germany and Poland. I have shared the outcome from my work previous to 2013 as scientific speaker in events held in those countries as well as in Switzerland and Finland. After 12 years performing research and working in institutions linked with environmental research and management, in 2013 I found myself in a period of transition searching for a new position or funding to support my own line of research. In the current competitive scenario, in order to demonstrate my capacities instead of just moving my cv waiting for my next opportunity to arrive, I decided to invest my energy and time in opening my own line of research sharing it in this blog. In March 2017 the budget reserved for this project has ended and its weekly basis time frame discontinued until new forms of economic and/or institutional support are incorporated into the project. The value of the data and the original nature of the research presented in this platform and at LinkedIn has proved to be worthy of consideration by the scientific community as well as for publication in scientific journals. However, without a position as member of an institution, it becomes very challenging to be published. I hope that this handicap do not overshadow the value of my achievements and that the Intellectual Property Rights generated with the license of attribution attached are respected and considered by the scientist involved in similar lines of research. **Any comment and feedback aimed to be constructive is welcome as well as any approach exploring professional opportunities to be part of.** In this blog I publish pieces of research focused on addressing relevant environmental questions. Furthermore, I try to break the barrier that academic publications very often offer isolating scientific findings from the general public. In that way I address those topics which I am familiar with, thanks to my training in environmental research, making them available throughout my posts. (see "Framework and Timeline" for a complete index). At this moment, 2018, I am living in Spain with no affiliation attachments. Free to relocate geographically worldwide. If you feel that I could be a contribution to your institution, team and projects, don´t hesitate in contact me at d.fdezsevilla (at) or consult my profile at LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Also, I'd appreciate information about any opportunity that you might know and believe it could match with my aptitudes. The conclusions and ideas expressed in each post as part of my own creativity are part of my Intellectual Portfolio and are protected by Intellectual Property Laws. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial conditions. In citing my work from this website, be sure to include the date of access and DOI. (c)Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD, 2018. Filling in or Finding Out the gaps around. Publication accessed 20YY-MM-DD at
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