Interannual and interdecadal variability of ocean temperature along the equatorial Pacific in conjunction with ENSO
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In this paper, the leading modes of ocean temperature anomalies (OTA) along the equatorial Pacific Ocean are analyzed and their connection with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and interdecadal variation is investigated. The first two leading modes of OTA are connected with the different phases of the canonical ENSO and display asymmetric features of ENSO evolution. The third leading mode depicts a tripole pattern with opposite variation of OTA above the thermocline in the central Pacific to that along the thermocline in the eastern and western Pacific. This mode is found to be associated with so-called ENSO-Modoki. Insignificant correlations of this mode with the first two leading modes suggest that ENSO-Modoki may be a mode that is independent to the canonical ENSO and also has longer time scales compared with the canonical ENSO. The fourth mode reflects a warming (cooling) tendency above (below) the thermocline since 2000. Both the first and second modes have a large contribution to the interdecadal change in thermocline during 1979–2012. Also, the analysis also documents that both ENSO and OTA shifted into higher frequency since 2000 compared with that during 1979–1999. Interestingly, the ENSO-Modoki related OTA mode does not have any trend or significant interdecadal shift during 1979–2012. In addition, it is shown that first four EOF modes seem robust before and after 1999/2000, suggesting that the interdecadal shift of the climate system in the tropical Pacific is mainly a frequency shift and the changes in spatial pattern are relatively small, although the mean states over two periods experienced some significant changes.
KeywordsENSO Ocean temperature along the equatorial pacific Tilt mode Warm water volume mode ENSO-Modoki Interannual and interdecadal variations
We thank the TAO Project Office of NOAA/PMEL for supplying the TAO data, and appreciate the constructive comments of two reviewers as well as Drs. Wanqiu Wang, Yan Xue, and Hui Wang.
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