Kinetic energy exchanges between the time scales of ENSO and the Pacific decadal oscillation

  • Lydia Stefanova
  • T. N. Krishnamurti
Original Paper


This paper examines the non-linear kinetic energy interactions of the atmospheric ENSO and decadal oscillations over the Pacific. The calculations are based on a 54-year dataset of tropospheric winds from NCEP reanalysis. We verify that the decadal oscillations have two dominant modes, corresponding well to the pentadecadal and bidecadal modes reported in the literature. Energy interactions involving the range of decadal oscillations and the range of ENSO oscillations are considered in the context of kinetic energy exchanges in the frequency domain. We quantify the relative amplitudes and spatial structures of the quadratic and triplet terms of the kinetic energy exchanges over the Pacific and conclude that quadratic interactions with the mean flow are the dominant term in the kinetic-to-kinetic energy exchanges. Additionally, we show that triplet interactions provide a non-trivial contribution to the total. The interactions between the range of decadal oscillations and the range of ENSO oscillations are found to be the strongest near the regions of maximum oscillation amplitude and of the maximum oscillation amplitude gradient. Due to their similar spatial structures, the two dominant ENSO modes and the bidecadal mode are found to interact in a resonant way. The interactions among the range of ENSO modes and the range of decadal modes are found to strengthen the ENSO modes in the equatorial, subtropical and midlatitude belts, and to weaken the decadal modes in all but the equatorial belt.


Pacific Decadal Oscillation Decadal Time Scale Zonal Wind Anomaly Quadratic Interaction Decadal Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding for this research was provided by NSF Grants ATM-0419618, ATM-0241517 and NOAA Grant NA16GP1365. Additional funding for this work was provided by DOE and the USDA. The authors would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions that helped improve this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction StudiesThe Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric ScienceThe Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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