Geophysical Research Letters

Patterns of coherent decadal and interdecadal climate signals in the Pacific Basin during the 20th century

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Abstract

Two distinct low-frequency fluctuations are suggested from a joint frequency domain analysis of the Pacific Ocean (30°S-60°N) sea surface temperature (SST) and sea level pressure (SLP). The lowest frequency signal reveals a spatially coherent interdecadal evolution, In-phase SST and SLP anomalies are found along the subarctic frontal zone (SAFZ). It is symmetric about the equator, with tropical SST anomalies peaking near 15° latitudes in the eastern Pacific. The other low-frequency signal reveals a spatially coherent decadal evolution. It is primarily a low-latitude phenomenon. Tropical SST anomalies peak in the central equatorial ocean with evidence of atmospheric teleconnections. These interdecadal and decadal signals join the ENSO and quasi-biennial signals in determining dominant patterns of Pacific Ocean natural climate variability. Relative phasing and location of the SST and SLP anomalies for the decadal, ENSO, and the quasi-biennial signals, are similar to one another but significantly different from that of the interdecadal signal.

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