Abstract

The western North Pacific anomalous anticyclone (WNPAC) significantly affects East Asian climate. Previous studies have elucidated interannual variability of the WNPAC associated with El Niño, but decadal variability of the WNPAC remains unknown. The present paper investigates the dominant modes of decadal variability of the WNPAC by using observational data. The first decadal mode, characterized by an anomalous anticyclone centered over the western North Pacific, is associated with the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). The relationship between the first mode and the PDO shifted from in phase to out of phase around 1966. From 1900 to 1966 when the PDO and the first mode are in phase, the anticyclone is maintained by the effects of both the strengthened Aleutian low through meridional atmospheric forcing and Indian Ocean warming through enhanced zonal Walker circulation. From 1967 to 2012, the anticyclone is induced by cold SST anomalies over the central equatorial Pacific when the PDO and the first mode are out of phase. The second decadal mode is characterized by an anomalous anticyclone extending from southeastern China to the Philippine Sea and is associated with the Maritime Continent (MC). This anticyclone resides in the sinking branch of the local Hadley circulation, triggered by enhanced convection associated with the MC warming from 1900 to 2012. The finding of the decadal WNPAC in this paper may provide a new way to explain East Asian climate on a decadal time scale.

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