Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 27–35 | Cite as

On the observed relationship between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation

  • Shu WuEmail author
  • Zhengyu Liu
  • Rong Zhang
  • Thomas L. Delworth
Original Article


We studied the relationship between the dominant patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) variability in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. The patterns are known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). In the analysis we used two different observational data sets for SST. Due to the high degree of serial correlation in the PDO and AMO time series, various tests were carried out to assess the significance of the correlations. The results demonstrated that the correlations are significant when the PDO leads the AMO by 1 year and when the AMO leads the PDO by 11–12 years. The possible physical processes involved are discussed, along with their potential implication for decadal prediction.


Relationship Pacific Decadal Oscillation Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation Monte Carlo test Decadal prediction 



This work was funded by the DOE and the Chinese MOST no. GYHY200906016, NSF of China 40830106, and Peking University. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments. Discussions with Dr. Feng He are appreciated. Kaplan SST V2 data are provided by NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their website at data were downloaded from UK Meteorological Office, Hadley Centre. The article was supported by CCR publication no. 998.


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shu Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhengyu Liu
    • 2
    • 3
    • 1
  • Rong Zhang
    • 4
  • Thomas L. Delworth
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Climatic ResearchUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Climate, Ocean-Atmosphere Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencePeking UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAAPrincetonUSA

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