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Journal Article

Modeling North Pacific SST anomalies as a response to anomalous atmospheric forcing


Luksch,  Ute
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

von Storch,  Hans
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;


Maier-Reimer,  Ernst
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Luksch, U., von Storch, H., & Maier-Reimer, E. (1990). Modeling North Pacific SST anomalies as a response to anomalous atmospheric forcing. Journal of Marine Systems, 1, 155-168. doi:10.1016/0924-7963(90)90204-N.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-689B-C
Large-scale sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) in the North Pacific ocean are often persistent for several months
during wintertime. There is observational evidence that these patterns are forced by anomalous atmospheric circulation. Since
the latter is in part related to the tropical E1 Ni~o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon it is hypothesized that part of
the North Pacific SSTA's may be interpreted as remote oceanic response to anomalous equatorial Pacific SSTA's.
Two experiments with a multi-level primitive equation model of the North Pacific have been conducted to study the
influence of such anomalous atmospheric circulation on the SST. In both experiments anomalous wind stress as derived from
the 1950-1979 COADS subset is specified as anomalous forcing. In experiment 1 no anomalous heat flux is introduced
whereas in experiment 2 anomalous heat fluxes are estimated from anomalous surface winds and a simple advective
In both experiments the GCM SSTA response are able to reproduce the main features of the time series of observed SSTA
in particular in winter. In experiment 1, however, the magnitudes are systematically too low. The addition of anomalous heat
fluxes in experiment 2 significantly improves the simulation. The ENSO signal is clearly present in both simulations.