[Coral-List] Link between ENSO and Caribbean SST

John McWilliams j.mcwilliams at uea.ac.uk
Thu May 26 08:05:25 EDT 2005

Dear Coral-list

I'm interested in the link between ENSO and its impacts on sea surfaces 
temperatures in the Caribbean (and subsequent impacts on coral bleaching).

To investigate this I'm trying to correlate ENSO indices (e.g. Southern 
Oscillation Index or Multivariate ENSO index) with SST anomalies in the 
Caribbean, using time lags (at monthly intervals) of up to three years. 
However, I know relatively little about the underlying mechanisms that link 
these two variables. Can anyone shed some light on how a strong El Nino 
(e.g. in 1998) can result in high SST in the Caribbean? For example, does 
it involve changes in tradewinds or oceanic circulation?

In addition, does anyone know if there is an appropriate time lag? If, for 
example, I get a significant correlation using a lag of 12 months, I need 
to know if this result is sensible or just a coincidence with no meaning in 
the real world.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
Kind regards


Dr John McWilliams
School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia
United Kingdom

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