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Solar Cycle Signals in the Pacific and the Issue of Timings

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  • 1 Department of Physics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The solar cycle signal in sea level pressure during 1856–2007 is analyzed. Using composites of data from January–February in solar cycle peak years the strong positive signal in the region of the Aleutian low, found by previous authors, is confirmed. It is found, however, that signals in other regions of the globe, particularly in the South Pacific, are very sensitive to the choice of reference climatology. Also investigated is the relationship between solar activity and sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific. A marked overall association of higher solar activity with colder temperatures in the tropical Pacific that is not restricted to years of peak sunspot number is noted. The ENSO-like variation following peak years that has been suggested by other authors is not found as a consistent signal. Both the SLP and SST signals vary coherently with the solar cycle and neither evolves on an ENSO-like time scale. The solar signals are weaker during the period spanning approximately 1956–97, which may be due to masking by a stronger innate ENSO variability at that time.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Indrani Roy, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Harrison Building, North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QF, United Kingdom. E-mail: i.roy@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

The solar cycle signal in sea level pressure during 1856–2007 is analyzed. Using composites of data from January–February in solar cycle peak years the strong positive signal in the region of the Aleutian low, found by previous authors, is confirmed. It is found, however, that signals in other regions of the globe, particularly in the South Pacific, are very sensitive to the choice of reference climatology. Also investigated is the relationship between solar activity and sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific. A marked overall association of higher solar activity with colder temperatures in the tropical Pacific that is not restricted to years of peak sunspot number is noted. The ENSO-like variation following peak years that has been suggested by other authors is not found as a consistent signal. Both the SLP and SST signals vary coherently with the solar cycle and neither evolves on an ENSO-like time scale. The solar signals are weaker during the period spanning approximately 1956–97, which may be due to masking by a stronger innate ENSO variability at that time.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Indrani Roy, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Harrison Building, North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QF, United Kingdom. E-mail: i.roy@exeter.ac.uk
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