, Volume 42, Issue 9-10, pp 2423-2437,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Jan 2014

Recent climate variation in the Bering and Chukchi Seas and its linkages to large-scale circulation in the Pacific

Abstract

The thermal state of the Bering Sea exhibits interdecadal variations, with distinct changes occurred in 1997–1998. After the unusual thermal condition of the Bering Sea in 1997–1998, we found that the recent climate variability (1999–2010) in the Bering Sea is closely related to Pacific basin-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. Specifically, warming in the Bering and Chukchi Seas in this period involves sea ice reduction and stronger oceanic heat flux to the atmosphere in winter. The atmospheric response to the recent warming in the Bering and Chukchi Seas resembles the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) pattern. Further analysis reveals that the recent climate variability in the Bering and Chukchi Seas has strong covariability with large-scale climate modes in the Pacific, that is, the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation and the central Pacific El Niño. In this study, physical connections among the recent climate variations in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, the NPO pattern and the Pacific large-scale climate patterns are investigated via cyclostationary empirical orthogonal function analysis. An additional model experiment using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Atmospheric Model, version 3, is conducted to support the robustness of the results.