The Spatiotemporal Structure of Twentieth-Century Climate Variations in...

Chen, J., A. Del Genio, B. E. Carlson, and M. G. Bosilovich (2008), The Spatiotemporal Structure of Twentieth-Century Climate Variations in Observations and Reanalyses. Part II: Pacific Pan-Decadal Variability, J. Climate, 21, 2634-2650, doi:10.1175/2007JCLI2012.1.

The spatiotemporal structure of Pacific pan-decadal variability (PDV) is isolated in global long-term surface temperature (ST) datasets and reanalysis atmospheric parameter fields from which El Niño– Southern Oscillation (ENSO) effects have been removed. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and combined EOF analysis of the resulting time series identify PDV as one of two primary modes of long-term variability, the other being a global warming (GW) trend, which is addressed in a companion paper (Part I).

In this study, it is shown that one of several PDV interdecadal regime shifts occurred during the 1990s. This significant change in the Pacific basin is comparable but antiphase to the well-known 1976 climate regime shift and is consistent with the observed changes in biosystems and ocean circulation. A comprehensive picture of PDV as manifested in the troposphere and at the surface is described. In general, the PDV spatial patterns in different parameter fields share some similarities with the patterns associated with ENSO, but important differences exist. First, the PDV circulation pattern is shifted westward by about 20° and is less zonally extended than that for ENSO. The westward shift of the PDV wave train produces a different North American teleconnection pattern that is more west–east oriented. The lack of a strong PDV surface temperature (ST) signal in the west equatorial Pacific and the relatively strong ST signal in the subtropical regions are consistent with an atmospheric overturning circulation response that differs from the one associated with ENSO. The analysis also suggests that PDV is a combination of decadal and/or interdecadal oscillations interacting through teleconnections.

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Modeling Analysis and Prediction Program (MAP)