Effects of the 18.6-yr Modulation of Tidal Mixing on the North Pacific Bidecadal Climate Variability in a Coupled Climate Model

Yuki Tanaka Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, Kashiwa, Japan

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Ichiro Yasuda Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, Kashiwa, Japan

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Hiroyasu Hasumi Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, Kashiwa, Japan

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Hiroaki Tatebe Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokohama, Japan

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Satoshi Osafune Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, Kashiwa, Japan

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Abstract

Diapycnal mixing induced by tide–topography interaction, one of the essential factors maintaining the global ocean circulation and hence the global climate, is modulated by the 18.6-yr period oscillation of the lunar orbital inclination, and has therefore been hypothesized to influence bidecadal climate variability. In this study, the spatial distribution of diapycnal diffusivity together with its 18.6-yr oscillation estimated from a global tide model is incorporated into a state-of-the-art numerical coupled climate model to investigate its effects on climate variability over the North Pacific and to understand the underlying physical mechanism. It is shown that a significant sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly with a period of 18.6 years appears in the Kuroshio–Oyashio Extension region; a positive (negative) SST anomaly tends to occur during strong (weak) tidal mixing. This is first induced by anomalous horizontal circulation localized around the Kuril Straits, where enhanced modulation of tidal mixing exists, and then amplified through a positive feedback due to midlatitude air–sea interactions. The resulting SST and sea level pressure variability patterns are reminiscent of those associated with one of the most prominent modes of climate variability in the North Pacific known as the Pacific decadal oscillation, suggesting the potential for improving climate predictability by taking into account the 18.6-yr modulation of tidal mixing.

Current affiliation: Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

Current affiliation: Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan.

Corresponding author address: Yuki Tanaka, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. E-mail: yuki.tanaka@eps.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Abstract

Diapycnal mixing induced by tide–topography interaction, one of the essential factors maintaining the global ocean circulation and hence the global climate, is modulated by the 18.6-yr period oscillation of the lunar orbital inclination, and has therefore been hypothesized to influence bidecadal climate variability. In this study, the spatial distribution of diapycnal diffusivity together with its 18.6-yr oscillation estimated from a global tide model is incorporated into a state-of-the-art numerical coupled climate model to investigate its effects on climate variability over the North Pacific and to understand the underlying physical mechanism. It is shown that a significant sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly with a period of 18.6 years appears in the Kuroshio–Oyashio Extension region; a positive (negative) SST anomaly tends to occur during strong (weak) tidal mixing. This is first induced by anomalous horizontal circulation localized around the Kuril Straits, where enhanced modulation of tidal mixing exists, and then amplified through a positive feedback due to midlatitude air–sea interactions. The resulting SST and sea level pressure variability patterns are reminiscent of those associated with one of the most prominent modes of climate variability in the North Pacific known as the Pacific decadal oscillation, suggesting the potential for improving climate predictability by taking into account the 18.6-yr modulation of tidal mixing.

Current affiliation: Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

Current affiliation: Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan.

Corresponding author address: Yuki Tanaka, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. E-mail: yuki.tanaka@eps.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp
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