On the Relationship between Tropical and North Pacific Sea Surface Temperature Variations

Clara Deser CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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Maurice L. Blackmon Climate Diagnostics Center, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Empirical orthogonal function analysis of winter sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the Pacific domain (60°N–20°S) reveals an El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) mode that is linked to the eastern North Pacific, and a North Pacific mode that is linearly independent of ENSO. The North Pacific mode exhibits maximum amplitude and variance explained along ∼40°N, west of ∼170°W. SSTs in this region have decreased by ∼1.5°C from 1950 to 1987. The cooling in winter has been associated with a strengthening of the overlying westerly winds.

Abstract

Empirical orthogonal function analysis of winter sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the Pacific domain (60°N–20°S) reveals an El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) mode that is linked to the eastern North Pacific, and a North Pacific mode that is linearly independent of ENSO. The North Pacific mode exhibits maximum amplitude and variance explained along ∼40°N, west of ∼170°W. SSTs in this region have decreased by ∼1.5°C from 1950 to 1987. The cooling in winter has been associated with a strengthening of the overlying westerly winds.

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