Interannual variability of western North Pacific SST anomalies and its impact on North Pacific and North America

In this study, the interannual variability of sea surface temperature (SST) and its atmospheric teleconnection over the western North Pacific (WNP) toward the North Pacific/North America during boreal winter are investigated. First, we defined the WNP mode as the first empirical orthogonal function (EOF) mode of SST anomalies over the WNP region (100–165°E, 0–35°N), of which the principle component time-series are significantly correlated with several well-known climate modes such as the warm pool mode which is the second EOF mode of the tropical to North Pacific SST anomalies, North Pacific oscillation (NPO), North Pacific gyre oscillation (NPGO), and central Pacific (CP)-El Niño at 95% confidence level, but not correlated with the eastern Pacific (EP)-El Niño. The warm phase of the WNP mode (sea surface warming) is initiated by anomalous southerly winds through reduction of wind speed with the background of northerly mean winds over the WNP during boreal winter, i.e., reduced evaporative cooling. Meanwhile, the atmospheric response to the SST warming pattern and its diabatic heating further enhance the southerly wind anomaly, referred to the wind–evaporation–SST (WES) feedback. Thus, the WNP mode is developed and maintained through winter until spring, when the northerly mean wind disappears. Furthermore, it is also known that anomalous upper-level divergence associated with WNP mode leads to the NPO-like structure over the North Pacific and the east–west pressure contrast pattern over the North America through Rossby wave propagation, impacting the climate over the North Pacific and North America.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-017-3538-8

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