Two Marine Heatwave (MHW) Variants under a Basinwide MHW Conditioning Mode in the North Pacific and Their Atlantic Associations

Yu Zhao aDepartment of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, California

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Jin-Yi Yu aDepartment of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, California

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Abstract

During 2013–16 and 2018–22, marine heatwaves (MHWs) occurred in the North Pacific, exhibiting similar extensive coverage, lengthy duration, and significant intensity but with different warming centers. The warming center of the 2013–16 event was in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), while the 2018–22 event had warming centers in both the GOA and the coast of Japan (COJ). Our observational analysis indicates that these two events can be considered as two MHW variants induced by a basinwide MHW conditioning mode in the North Pacific. Both variants were driven thermodynamically by atmospheric wave trains propagating from the tropical Pacific to the North Pacific, within the conditioning mode. The origin and propagating path of these wave trains play a crucial role in determining the specific type of MHW variant. When a stronger wave train originates from the tropical central (western) Pacific, it leads to the GOA (COJ) variant. The cross-basin nature of the wave trains enables the two MHW variants to be accompanied by a tripolar pattern of sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic but with opposite phases. The association of these two MHW variants with the Atlantic Ocean also manifests in the decadal variations of their occurrence. Both variants tend to occur more frequently during the positive phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation but less so during the negative phase. This study underscores the importance of cross-basin associations between the North Pacific and North Atlantic in shaping the dynamics of North Pacific MHWs.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jin-Yi Yu, jyyu@uci.edu

Abstract

During 2013–16 and 2018–22, marine heatwaves (MHWs) occurred in the North Pacific, exhibiting similar extensive coverage, lengthy duration, and significant intensity but with different warming centers. The warming center of the 2013–16 event was in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), while the 2018–22 event had warming centers in both the GOA and the coast of Japan (COJ). Our observational analysis indicates that these two events can be considered as two MHW variants induced by a basinwide MHW conditioning mode in the North Pacific. Both variants were driven thermodynamically by atmospheric wave trains propagating from the tropical Pacific to the North Pacific, within the conditioning mode. The origin and propagating path of these wave trains play a crucial role in determining the specific type of MHW variant. When a stronger wave train originates from the tropical central (western) Pacific, it leads to the GOA (COJ) variant. The cross-basin nature of the wave trains enables the two MHW variants to be accompanied by a tripolar pattern of sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic but with opposite phases. The association of these two MHW variants with the Atlantic Ocean also manifests in the decadal variations of their occurrence. Both variants tend to occur more frequently during the positive phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation but less so during the negative phase. This study underscores the importance of cross-basin associations between the North Pacific and North Atlantic in shaping the dynamics of North Pacific MHWs.

© 2023 American Meteorological Society. This published article is licensed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jin-Yi Yu, jyyu@uci.edu

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