The mechanism of the seasonal persistence barrier (SPB) is studied in the framework of autoregressive (AR) model. In contrast to the seasonal variance, whose minimum is modulated mainly by the minimum growth rate or noise forcing, the SPB is caused primarily by the declining growth rate or increasing noise forcing, instead of the minimum/maximum of the growth rate or noise forcing. In other words, the SPB is caused by the declining signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) rather than the weakest SNR. In a weakly damped system, the phase of SPB is delayed from that of declining SNR by about a season. The mechanism is further applied to explain the observed SST variability in the tropical and North Pacific. For the tropical Pacific, the spring SPB could be caused by the decreasing growth rate from September to March and weak annual mean damping rate, instead of the minimum growth rate in spring. Over the North Pacific, the increasing noise forcing from March to June may lead to the summer SPB. Our mechanism provides a null hypothesis for understanding the SPB of climate variability.
Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.