TERRAPUB Journal of Oceanography

Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 58 (No. 6), pp. 861-876, 2001

Four Decadal Ocean-Atmosphere Modes in the North Pacific Revealed by Various Analysis Methods

Jing-Jia Luo* and Toshio Yamagata

Institute for Global Change Research, FRSGC, Showa-machi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan

(Received 9 January 2001; in revised form 2 April 2002; accepted 17 April 2002)

Abstract: Various statistical methods (empirical orthogonal function (EOF), rotated EOF, singular value decomposition (SVD), principal oscillation pattern (POP), complex EOF (CEOF) and joint CEOF) were applied to low-pass filtered (>7 years) sea surface temperature (SST), subsurface temperature and 500 hPa geopotential height in order to reveal standing and propagating features of decadal variations in the North Pacific. Four decadal ocean-atmosphere covariant modes were found in this study. The first mode is the well-known ENSO-like mode associated with the "Pacific-North American" atmospheric pattern, showing SST variations reversed between the tropics and the extratropics. In the western tropical Pacific, subsurface temperature variations were found to be out of phase with the SST variations. The other three modes are related to the oceanic general circulation composed of the subtropical gyre, the Alaskan gyre and the subpolar gyre, respectively. The 1988/89 event in the northern North Pacific was found to be closely associated with the subtropical gyre mode, and the atmospheric pattern associated with this mode is the Arctic Oscillation. An upper ocean heat budget analysis suggests that the surface net heat flux and mean gyre advection are important to the Alaskan gyre mode. For the subpolar gyre mode, the mean gyre advection, local Ekman pumping and surface net heat flux play important roles. Possible air-sea interactions in the North Pacific are also discussed. The oceanic signals for these decadal modes occupy a thick layer in the North Pacific, so that accumulated heat content may in turn support long-term climate variations.


*Corresponding author E-mail: luo@jamstec.go.jp


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