Climate Dynamics

, Volume 41, Issue 5–6, pp 1407–1417 | Cite as

Ocean mixed layer processes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in coupled general circulation models

  • Bo Young Yim
  • Yign Noh
  • Sang-Wook Yeh
  • Jong-Seong Kug
  • Hong Sik Min
  • Bo Qiu


It is investigated how the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is simulated differently among various coupled general circulation models (CGCMs), and how it is related to the heat budget of the simulated ocean mixed layer, which includes the surface heat flux and ocean heat transport. For this purpose the dataset of the climate of the 20th Century experiment (20C3M) from nine CGCMs reported to IPCC’s AR4 are used, while the MRI and MIROC models are examined in detail. Detailed analyses of these two CGCMs reveal that the PDO is mainly affected by ocean heat transport rather than surface heat flux, in particular in the MRI model which has a larger contribution of ocean heat transport to the heat budget. It is found that the ocean heat transport due to Ekman advection versus geostrophic advection contributes differently to the PDO in the western and central North Pacific. Specifically, the strength of PDO tends to be larger for CGCMs with a larger ocean heat transport in the region.


Pacific Decadal Oscillation El Niño and Southern Oscillation Coupled general circulation models Heat budget of the mixed layer 



We acknowledge the international modeling groups for providing their data for analysis, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) for collecting and archiving the model data, the JSC/CLIVAR Working Group on Coupled Modeling (WGCM) and their Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) and Climate Simulation Panel for organizing the model data analysis activity, and the IPCC WG1 TSU for technical support. The IPCC Data Archive at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science, US Department of Energy. This work was supported by the “National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (MEST)” (NRF-2009-C1AAA001-2009-0093042). Y. Noh was funded by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant CATER 2012-6090. B. Qiu was supported by NSF through grant OCE-0926594.


  1. Salas-Melia D et al (2005) Description and validation of the CNRM-CM3 global coupled model. CNRM Tech Rep 103, p 36Google Scholar
  2. Barlow M, Nigam S, Berbery EH (2001) ENSO, Pacific decadal variability, and U.S. summertime precipitation, drought, and stream flow. J Clim 14:2105–2128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Capotondi A, Alexander MA (2001) Rossby waves in the tropical Pacific and their role in decadal thermocline variability. J Phys Oceanogr 31:3496–3515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carton JA, Grodsky SA, Liu H (2008) Variability of the Oceanic mixed layer, 1960–2004. J Clim 21:1029–1047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dawe JT, Thompson L (2007) PDO-related heat and temperature budget changes in a model of the North Pacific. J Clim 20:2092–2108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Delworth TL et al (2006) GFDLs CM2 global coupled climate models. Part I: formulation and simulation characteristics. J Clim 19:643–674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deser C, Blackmon ML (1995) On the relationship between tropical and North Pacific sea surface temperature variations. J Clim 8:1677–1680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deser C, Alexander MA, Timlin MS (1996) Upper-ocean thermal variations in the North Pacific during 1970–1991. J Clim 9:1840–1855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Enfield DB, Mestas-Nuñez AM (1999) Multiscale variability in global sea surface temperatures and their relationships with tropospheric climate pattern. J Clim 12:2719–2733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flato GM, Boer GJ (2001) Warming asymmetry in climate change simulations. Geophys Res Lett 28:195–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frankignoul C (1985) Sea surface temperature anomalies, planetary waves and air-sea feedback in middle latitudes. Rev Geophys 23:357–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frankignoul C, Hasselmann K (1977) Stochastic climate models. Part II. Application to SST anomalies and thermocline variability. Tellus 29:289–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gershunov A, Barnett T (1998) Interdecadal modulation of ENSO teleconnections. Bull Am Meteor Soc 79:2715–2726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goosse H, Fichefet T (1999) Importance of ice-ocean interactions for the global ocean circulation: a model study. J Geophys Res 104:337–355Google Scholar
  15. Gordon C, Cooper C, Senior C, Banks H, Gregory J, Johns T, Mitchell J, Wood R (2000) The simulation of SST, sea ice extents and ocean heat transports in the Hadley Centre coupled model without flux adjustments. Clim Dyn 16:147–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hasumi H, Emori S (2004) Coupled GCM (MIROC) description. K-1 Tech Rep 1, p 34Google Scholar
  17. Kang YJ, Noh Y, Yeh S-W (2010) Processes that influence the mixed layer deepening during winter in the North Pacific. J Geophys Res 115:C12004. doi:10.1029/2009JC005833 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kleeman R, Power SB (1995) A simple atmospheric model of surface heat flux for use in ocean modeling studies. J Phys Oceanogr 25:92–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lapp SL, St Jacques J-M, Barrow EM, Sauchyn DJ (2011) GCM projections for the Pacific Decadal Oscillation under greenhouse forcing for the early 21st century. Int J Climatol. Published online in Wiley Online Library. doi:10.1002/joc.2364
  20. Latif M, Barnett TP (1994) Causes of decadal climate variability over the North Pacific and North America. Science 266:634–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Latif M, Barnett TP (1996) Decadal climate variability over the North Pacific and North America: dynamics and predictability. J Clim 9:2407–2423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Legutke S, Voss R (1999) The Hamburg atmosphere–ocean coupled circulation model ECHO-G. Tech Rep 18, German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ), p 62Google Scholar
  23. Levitus S (1982) Climatological atlas of the world ocean, NOAA Prof Pap 13, p 173, US Govt Print Off, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  24. Mantua NJ, Hare SR (2002) The Pacific Decadal Oscillation. J Oceanogr 58:35–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mantua NJ, Hare SR, Zhang Y, Wallace JM, Francis RC (1997) A Pacific interdecadal climate oscillation with impacts on salmon production. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 78:1069–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marsland SJ, Haak H, Jungclaus JH, Latif M, Roeske F (2003) The Max-Planck-Institute global ocean/sea ice model with orthogonal curvilinear coordinates. Ocean Modell 5:91–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meehl GA, Covey C, Delworth T, Latif M, McAvaney B, Mitchell JFB, Stouffer RJ, Taylor KE (2007) The WCRP CMIP3 multimodel dataset: a new era in climate change research. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1383–1394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Miller AJ, Schneider N (2000) Interdecadal climate regime dynamics in the North Pacific Ocean: theories, observations and ecosystem impacts. Prog Oceanogr 47:355–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miller AJ, Cayan DR, Barnett TP, Graham NE, Oberhuber JM (1994a) Interdecadal variability of the Pacific Ocean: model response to observed heat flux and wind stress anomalies. Clim Dyn 9:287–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Miller AJ, Cayan DR, Barnett TP, Graham NE, Oberhuber JM (1994b) The 1976–77 climate shift of the Pacific Ocean. Oceanography 7:21–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Minobe S (1997) A 50–70 year climatic oscillation over the North Pacific and North America. Geophys Res Lett 24:683–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Monterey G, Levitus S (1997) Seasonal variability of mixed layer depth for the world ocean, NOAA Atlas NESDIS 14, Natl Oceanic and Atmos Admin, Silver Spring, MD, p 5Google Scholar
  33. Nakamura H, Lin G, Yamagata T (1997) Decadal climate variability in the North Pacific during the recent decades. Bull Am Meteor Soc 78:2215–2225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pavia EG, Graef F, Reyes J (2006) PDO–ENSO effects in the climate of Mexico. J Clim 19:6433–6438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pierce DW, Barnett TP, Schneider N, Saravanan R, Dommenget D, Latif M (2001) The role of ocean dynamics in producing decadal climate variability in the North Pacific. Clim Dyn 18:51–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Qiu B, Chen S (2006) Decadal variability in the formation of the North Pacific subtropical mode water: oceanic versus atmospheric control. J Phys Oceanogr 36:1365–1380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Qiu B, Schneider N, Chen S (2007) Coupled decadal variability in the North Pacific: an observationally constrained idealized model. J Clim 20:3602–3620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schneider N, Cornuelle BD (2005) The forcing of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. J Clim 18:4355–4373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tomita T, Nonaka M (2006) Upper-ocean mixed layer and wintertime sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Pacific. J Clim 19:300–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tomita T, Xie S-P, Nonaka M (2002) Estimates of surface and subsurface forcing for decadal sea surface temperature variability in the mid-latitude North Pacific. J Meteor Soc Jpn 80:1289–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Trenberth KE (1990) Recent observed interdecadal climate changes in the Northern Hemisphere. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 71:988–993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wu L, Liu Z, Gallimore R, Jacob R, Lee D, Zhong Y (2003) A coupled modelling study of Pacific decadal variability: the tropical mode and the North Pacific Mode. J Clim 16:1101–1120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yang H, Liu Z, Wang H (2004) Influences of extratropical thermal and wind forcings on equatorial thermocline in an ocean GCM. J Phys Oceanogr 24:174–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yim BY, Noh Y, Yeh S-W (2012) Role of the ocean mixed layer processes in the response of the North Pacific winter SST and MLD to global warming in CGCMs. Clim Dyn 38(5–6):1181–1190. doi:10.1007/s00382-011-1120-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yoon J, Yeh S-W (2010) Influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on the relationship between El Niño and the northeast Asian summer monsoon. J Clim 23:4525–4537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yu B, Boer GJ (2004) The role of the western Pacific in decadal variability. Geophys Res Lett 31:L02204. doi:10.1029/2003GL018471 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yukimoto S et al (2001) The new meteorological research institute coupled GCM (MRI-CGCM2). Model climate and variability. Pap Meteor Geophy 51:47–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang Y-L, Yu Y-Q (2011) Analysis of decadal climate variability in the tropical Pacific by coupled GCM. Atmos Oceanic Sci Lett 4:204–208Google Scholar
  49. Zhang Y, Wallace JM, Iwasaka N (1996) Is climate variability over the North Pacific a linear response to ENSO? J Clim 9:1468–1478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhang Y, Wallace JM, Battisti DS (1997) ENSO-like interdecadal variability: 1900–1993. J Clim 10:1004–1020CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Young Yim
    • 1
  • Yign Noh
    • 2
  • Sang-Wook Yeh
    • 3
  • Jong-Seong Kug
    • 1
  • Hong Sik Min
    • 1
  • Bo Qiu
    • 4
  1. 1.Korea Institute of Ocean Science and TechnologyAnsanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric Sciences/Global Environmental LaboratoryYonsei UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Marine ScienceHanyang UniversityAnsanSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of OceanographyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations