North pacific gyre oscillation synchronizes climate fluctuations in the eastern and western boundary systems
Ceballos, Lina Isabel
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Recent studies have identified the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO) as a decadal mode of climate variability that is linked to previously unexplained fluctuations of salinity, nutrient, and chlorophyll in the Northeast Pacific. The NPGO reflects changes in strength of the central and eastern branches of the subtropical gyre and is driven by the atmosphere through the North Pacific Oscillation (NPO) -the second dominant mode of sea level pressure variability. We show that Rossby waves dynamics excited by the NPO propagate the NPGO signature from the central North Pacific into the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension (KOE), and trigger changes in strength of the KOE with a lag of 3 years. This suggests that the NPGO index can be used to track changes in the entire northern branch of the North Pacific sub-tropical gyre. These results also provide a physical mechanism to explain coherent decadal climate variations and ecosystem changes between the North Pacific eastern and western boundaries.